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What Is the Difference Between Reckless and Careless Driving?

Jan. 22, 2018

When you think about careless and reckless driving in Clearwater, you might think they are the same thing. Though they are similar, there are some key differences you should be aware of. Both types of driving behaviors can lead to car accidents, injuries and death.

It is important for you to understand the difference between the two as both types of infractions can have a negative impact on your life and lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.

Careless Driving

Most minor moving violations, such as speeding a few miles over the speed limit, running red lights and engaging in improper driving behaviors heedlessly, fall under the umbrella of careless driving behaviors. People who drive carelessly are not doing so with malicious intent, but their actions do put themselves and others at risk on the roads.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is more serious than carelessly operating a motor vehicle. The consequences are steeper and include more than citations, points on the driving record and fines. People who drive recklessly do not have any regard for human life and road safety. Common signs of reckless driving include excessive speeds, tailgating, road rage, cutting people off and drag racing.

Some of the most dangerous driving behaviors, such as drowsy driving and distractions, can fall under either category. Law enforcement takes several factors into consideration when issuing traffic citations and criminal charges.

An Example of Careless and Reckless Driving

For example, it is possible for a person who runs a red light to receive a ticket for careless driving after speeding and disregarding the traffic signal if there is no accident or harm to another person or property. It is also possible for another individual to receive criminal charges for reckless driving in addition to traffic citations for doing the same things. However, their negligent and reckless behaviors lead to a car accident, people suffering injuries and property damage.

Both careless and reckless driving are dangerous. The severity of penalties is dependent on the circumstances and offender’s driving record. The more serious the offense, the greater the likelihood of you receiving a criminal conviction and incarceration sentence. If you ever find yourself accused of driving carelessly or recklessly, you might want to speak with an attorney to protect your driving privileges and criminal record.