Every time you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a decision to make. You can choose to drive responsibly, paying attention to the conditions on the road and other drivers around you or you can choose to drive irresponsibly and even recklessly, with no regard for your safety or that of others around you. If you choose the latter and you’re caught, the penalties can be severe—and with good reason. Unfortunately, reckless driving can have serious repercussions for both you and others on the road with you. Rash driving substantially raises your chances of being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize that they’re driving recklessly due to distractions or outside influences: cell phone use, talking to another driver in the car, alcohol, speeding, or even eating or putting on makeup while driving.
Some people go so far as to pride themselves on their ability to accomplish these things right up until it goes wrong and they’re involved in an accident. Letting distractions lead to reckless driving when you’re behind the wheel? NY attorney Isaac Abraham would like to share a few words of wisdom on the short-term and long-term consequences of reckless driving for you to consider.
If you’re caught driving recklessly, there are several immediate consequences. These are the ones that many people worry about first when they’re faced with a reckless driving charge. They include:
- Fines: The immediate fine associated with the ticket and/or points on the license are often the first concern of drivers caught in a reckless driving charge.
- Points on your license: Reckless driving can lead to many demerit points on your license. In some states, that means that you’re going to be paying a fine to the state. In other cases, cumulative points will lead to you losing your license.
- License suspension: If you’re convicted of more than one reckless driving charge within an eighteen-month period, you stand strong odds of losing your license.
- Potential jail time: In several states, including New York, reckless driving is a crime that can lead to time in jail.
Unfortunately, for many drivers, reckless driving doesn’t stop with the short term consequences. There are many other hazards that can stay with you longer. These consequences are often the ones that, in the long run, are harder to deal with.
- Increase in insurance premiums: How much are you paying for car insurance right now? If you’re caught in a reckless driving charge, that amount can increase substantially.
- Permanent criminal record: In some states, reckless driving is a criminal offense. That means that if you’re caught, you’re going to have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
- Job loss: If your job involves driving on company time, it’s a safe bet to assume that if you get a reckless driving charge, you’re going to lose your job as a result. Getting a new one with that criminal record may be a challenge, too.
Behaviors and Dangers
The best way to avoid a reckless driving charge is to ensure that you’re being safe when you’re behind the wheel. Drinking and driving is never acceptable. The only way to be sure that you’re safe to drive is to wait to drive after consuming alcohol. Also, pay attention to your behavior when you’re behind the wheel. Do you often engage in speeding or tailgating behaviors? Both of these are unsafe and don’t actually gain you anything. In fact, speeding can ultimately cause it to take longer to reach your destination due to traffic flow problems. Refusing to yield is also a common cause of accidents. If you want to be safe behind the wheel, obey the rules of the road and be courteous to other drivers. The golden rule doesn’t just apply to kindness out of the car!
The dangers of reckless driving are significant, and the consequences can stay with you for a long time to come. When you’re tempted to engage in unsafe behavior behind the wheel, take a moment to consider the consequences. Even if you don’t cause an accident, the cost of driving recklessly can stay with you for a very long time.
Guest authored by Ben Landman for the Minick Law Blog.