Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving

Clients often misuse the terms “reckless driving” and “careless driving” because they understand these violations to mean the same thing. In reality, reckless driving is a much harsher offense than careless driving because it shows intent to endanger others. If you’ve received a careless driving, reckless driving, or even a speeding ticket, call our lawyers who serve Monmouth County, NJ, to help lighten your burden. 

Careless Driving

If you’ve ever gotten distracted while driving, you’ve participated in careless driving. According to the New Jersey Statue of Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation, careless driving can be defined as any person who is driving without due caution, thereby posing a risk to themselves, other people, and property. These drivers show no intent to endanger others, but could possibly do so as a result of their carelessness. 

Anything that can distract you, the driver, from being careful on the road, is considered careless driving. Here is a small list of actions that could earn you a careless driving violation: 

  • Texting while driving
  • Illegal lane changes
  • Being distracted (by the radio, your phone, others, etc.)
  • Speeding
  • Traffic collision
  • Reckless driving
  • Etc.

The consequences of being a careless driver are a small fine and points on your license. A first-time offense can see a penalty up to $140 and 2 points added to their license. These points don’t expire, so enough repeated offenses can result in license suspension. 

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a more serious offense than careless driving. Reckless drivers show intent to endanger other people and property, or a “wanton disregard” for the safety of those around them. As such, the consequences of receiving a reckless driving violation are much harsher. Depending on the gravity of the circumstances, reckless driving can be cited as either a traffic violation or a criminal offense. 

The following examples are considered reckless driving and could earn you a violation:

  • Exceeding the speed limit by a high amount (25+)
  • Eluding a police officer on the road
  • Weaving between traffic
  • Racing with another vehicle 

A reckless driving offense will see drivers receive a hefty fine, points on their license, possible jail time, a possible misdemeanor on their criminal record, or a possible license suspension. A first offense will start with a fine of $50 – $200, as well as 3 points added to your license. 

Seek Legal Help

If you’ve been convicted of any traffic violation, call the Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller LLP. With a decade of experience in municipal and criminal law, you won’t find a better family, criminal, or DUI lawyer in the Mercer County, NJ, area.