Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense. The precise definition of Reckless Driving can be found in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code at 75 Pa.C.S. §3736. Reckless Driving carries with it a mandatory six (6) month license suspension and a mandatory $200 fine. Interestingly enough, if you are convicted of Reckless Driving no points will be assessed on your driver's license.

In order to be convicted of Reckless Driving the police officer must prove that you drove a vehicle with a "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." This means that there must be a substantial risk of property damage or personal injury and a conscious disregard for the danger being created. The difference between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving is that Reckless Driving requires a conscious disregard for the safety of others and Careless Driving requires a careless disregard for the safety of other persons or property.

If you are convicted of a DUI, you cannot also be convicted of Reckless Driving merely because you were drinking alcohol. Likewise, proof by the police that you were driving fast or speeding is not per se Reckless Driving. Additional factors are required to convict for reckless driving.

Below are examples where people have been convicted of Reckless Driving:

  • speeding, tailgating, erratically changing lanes and losing control of vehicle
  • weaving in and out of the roadway for several miles, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.21, losing control of car, and striking center barrier

In the following case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court found the evidence insufficient to convict for Reckless Driving. The defendant drove down a four lane highway at a speed of 55 miles per hour, lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a turn. The testimony showed that the defendant was driving too fast for the conditions on the roadway. The Superior Court held that there was no indication that defendant was traveling so fast as to create a high probability that the accident would occur, and defendant's speed was not so excessive as to qualify as a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.1

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been charged with Reckless Driving, contact Jason R. Antoine, Reckless Driving Attorney for a free consultation at (610) 299-0295. In my legal opinion if a plea deal to a lesser traffic charge is not offered by the police, you must proceed to trial on this charge.

1 See Comm v. Greenberg, 885 A.2d 1025 (Pa.Super. Ct. 2005)