In Texas, there is a wide variety of traffic violations that constitute reckless driving. Although reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor in Texas, certain types of reckless driving may carry additional violations, with penalties that can be severe, particularly if reckless driving resulted in an accident that caused death or injury.
Drivers should be aware of the various types of reckless driving, the associated penalties, and the increased accident risk. Our Longview, TX, car accident lawyers, Randy Akin and Greg Burton, represent those that have been injured in car accidents caused by reckless driving.
A driver commits the offense of reckless driving under Section 545.401 of the Texas Transportation Code if they “[drive] a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” which is a broad definition that includes various types of unlawful driving. Furthermore, “this section applies to: (1) a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a charge is made for the storing or parking of motor vehicles; and (2) a highway or other public place,” and further applies to “a person, a team, or motor vehicles and other equipment engaged in work on a highway surface.”
Reckless Driving in Texas
According to Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts for 2017:
- In Texas, one person is killed in a car accident approximately every two hours and 21 minutes.
- In Texas, one person is injured in a car accident approximately every two minutes and four seconds.
- In Texas, one reportable car accident occurs approximately every one minute.
Types of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving may include various types of driving behavior, including:
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving.
- Attempting to flee from or otherwise evade law enforcement officers.
- Failing to yield the right of way.
- Running stop signs or red lights.
- Excessive speeding.
- Road racing.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Passing a stopped school bus.
- Driving while intoxicated.
However, reckless driving requires more than mere negligence; the driver must commit these acts with willfulness or wantonness, meaning that the driver knew or should have known the behavior was reckless but decided to do it anyway.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties for reckless driving and any associated charges can vary widely, including:
- A criminal record.
- Insurance ramifications stemming from the reckless driving charge on your driving record.
- Suspended driving privileges.
- Substantial fines.
- Possible jail time.
In addition, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by reckless driving, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent individual or party to seek compensation for damages.
If you have been charged with reckless driving or any other type of driving-related violation, contact the law firm of G.R. (Randy) Akin or call us in Longview at (903) 297-8929. We offer free consultations and will sit down with you to help you sort out your various options and suggest appropriate action.