Reckless driving is a dangerous and negligent behavior that endangers the lives of all motorists. In 2022, reckless driving was responsible for 2,491 crashes and 93 deaths on Michigan roads.
If you are injured by a reckless driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. The Michigan auto accident attorneys at Fieger Law can help you prove negligence to get the compensation you deserve.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving refers to a dangerous and willful disregard for the safety of others while operating a motor vehicle. It involves a series of aggressive or irresponsible actions that risk the driver’s life and jeopardize the well-being of passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists on the road.
It can include:
- excessive speeding
- weaving through traffic
- running red lights
- engaging in dangerous maneuvers
It often results in severe consequences, such as accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
In Michigan, reckless driving is a serious charge. It’s a criminal offense and can cause an offender to be considered negligent in civil cases. Those charged with reckless driving can face imprisonment of up to 15 years and fines of up to $10,000, depending on the damage caused to accident victims.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Let’s take a closer look at some specific examples of reckless driving. These are behaviors that not only endanger the safety of all road users but also expose drivers to legal liabilities if an accident occurs.
Understanding these examples can help you avoid reckless behavior and identify it in others, which is crucial if you need to take legal action after an accident.
- Excessive speeding: Going 25 mph or more above the posted speed limit (for example, going 80 mph in a 55-mph zone) may result in a reckless driving charge. Driving at excessive speeds reduces a driver’s reaction time, making it extremely difficult to respond in time to sudden obstacles or hazards on the road.
- Tailgating: Following another vehicle too closely doesn’t leave enough room to stop safely in case of a sudden halt in traffic, risking rear-end collisions. Tailgating is not only aggressive and dangerous, but it can also create a chain reaction that can lead to multi-vehicle pileups. Eighty-two of the fatal crashes in Michigan in 2022 were rear-end accidents.
- Illegal passing: Overtaking in no-passing zones and passing school buses with flashing red lights are both examples of reckless driving. Illegal passing is hazardous, as it often involves crossing double yellow lines, blind corners, or congested areas.
These actions can lead to head-on collisions, resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Improper passing resulted in nine fatal accidents in Michigan in 2022.
- Distracted driving: Texting while driving, changing the radio station, or any other activity that takes attention off the road could be reckless driving. It may even be considered reckless when it seriously endangers the safety of others.
For instance, repeatedly looking away from the road, engaging in prolonged text conversations, or excessively adjusting in-car technology could be considered reckless behavior. Distracted driving resulted in 57 deaths in Michigan in 2022.
- Driving under the influence: Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol affects a driver’s cognitive abilities, motor skills, and judgment, making them a hazard to everyone on the road. DUI-related accidents often result in severe injuries or fatalities, with 322 deaths in Michigan in 2022.
- Ignoring traffic rules: Blowing through stop signs, running red lights, or disregarding other traffic control devices can also constitute reckless driving. Ignoring these signals puts every other driver at risk and contributed to 10,500 accidents in Michigan in 2022, 73 of them leading to deaths.
Receiving Compensation After a Crash
Although reckless drivers are often charged with a criminal offense, that’s not always the case. The good news for accident victims is that even if the person who hit you is not held criminally responsible, you can still hold them civilly liable for their negligence.
Reckless driving can be established as negligence in a civil claim or lawsuit. At Fieger Law, our experienced attorneys specialize in handling auto accident cases, and we can help you build a solid claim to seek compensation for your damages.
In addition to helping you receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, our legal team will help you pursue further compensation, including pain and suffering damages, through a third-party claim or lawsuit if necessary.
We will gather evidence, such as phone records, traffic camera footage, and witness testimony, to demonstrate the driver’s reckless behavior and prove their negligence led to your injuries.
Get a Fair Settlement for Your Injuries
If a reckless driver injures you or a loved one, you deserve compensation for the damages they caused. Our attorneys at Fieger Law have won millions on behalf of car accident victims in Michigan and throughout the U.S. in both settlements and jury awards.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options after being in an accident with a reckless driver.