Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Was Your Accident Caused by Reckless or Negligent Driving Behaviors?

Was Your Accident Caused by Reckless or Negligent Driving Behaviors?

Was your accident caused by reckless driving behavior or because of negligent driving behavior? What's the difference between these two types of offenses? The law defines reckless driving behaviors as that which is committed with absolute disregard for other motorists' and pedestrians' safety. Conversely, negligent driving means the driver failed to exercise reasonable caution and care. Reckless behaviors include drag racing, running red lights, and driving under the influence. Negligent driving includes less serious infractions such as failing to signal, falling asleep at the wheel, or failing to yield the right-of-way.

Intent Is the Determining Factor

The determining factor behind whether a law enforcement officer charges a motorist with reckless or negligent driving is the involved level of intent. Ultimately, all motor vehicle accidents involve some form of negligence. However, negligent driving is most often accidental, whereas reckless driving is intentional. The court will consider whether a reasonable person would know the action was risky. They will also examine the consequences of the accident, i.e., did people suffer personal injuries or were killed or paralyzed? Judges can consider factors that influenced the driver's actions, including their age, driving experience, mental health, level of remorse, etc.

Causes of Negligent Driving Accidents in Kansas

In 2018, general inattention caused 15,200 accidents in Kansas. Of these, 7,664 were caused by right-of-way violations, 5,324 were caused by drivers driving too fast for conditions, and 974 were caused by drivers who fell asleep at the wheel. 405 were caused by drivers who drove the wrong way down the road, and 253 were caused by drivers who had an "emotional outburst" while driving.

In Kansas, negligent driving behaviors are far more likely to cause a crash than reckless driving behaviors. For instance, driving under the influence of alcohol caused 2,059 accidents, driving under the influence of drugs caused 330, and running red lights caused 1,523. In all, 1,331 accidents in Kansas were coded as careless or reckless driving behaviors.

However, this doesn't mean that because reckless driving behaviors caused fewer accidents, they are safer. Indeed, the differences in the statistics are due to the frequency with which each type of driving behavior occurs. The bottom line is that fewer people drive drunk than fail to yield, etc.

Charges for Reckless Driving and Negligent Driving in Kansas

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in Kanas. For the first offense, drivers can receive between 5 days and 90 days imprisonment and a fine of between $25 and $500. Judges can choose to impose both a fine and a prison sentence. Generally, the judge will look at the individual's driving history and whether or not anyone was injured or killed in the accident when determining which penalty to apply. The penalties are increased based on the number of offenses and the severity of the outcomes.

Call Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. We represent clients who are injured by negligent driving behaviors. We give free emergency legal consultations on weekends, holidays and in the evenings. We represent clients in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.