Reckless Driving in Massachusetts

We've all seen those drivers — weaving in and out of traffic, forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes; speeding through stop signs; ignoring road conditions. While we may shake our heads (or our fists) at them, these drivers are endangering us all. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one-half of all fatal crashes between 2003 and 2007 involved some form of reckless/aggressive driving.

Individuals who drive recklessly can face charges for reckless or negligent driving under Massachusetts' laws. However, the penalties are minimal, providing very little incentive to drive better in the future. When reckless drivers cause injury, they can and should be held accountable through personal injury lawsuits.

What Is Reckless Driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reckless driving involves committing a "combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."

Reckless driving is a driving offense under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 24, which provides for punishment for individuals who drive recklessly or negligently and, thus, endanger the lives and safety of the public. The statute also covers individuals who race their cars, leave the scene of an accident where they caused property damage, or fraudulently obtain a license or learner's permit.

Massachusetts' reckless driving law does not list a particular speed limit as "reckless driving." Going a few miles over the speed limit would not be considered reckless driving. Going 100 miles per hour through a residential area, however, endangers the lives of the residents living nearby and would likely be considered reckless driving.

Reckless Driving in the News

Earlier this year, a bus overturned in Manhattan's Chinatown, killing four passengers. The bus driver was likely too tired to drive. He faces a reckless driving charge. Also in the news for reckless driving was NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, who drove 128 mph in a 45 mph zone in North Carolina, perhaps practicing his trade.

These are only two popular examples of aggressive/reckless driving — people are charged with reckless driving daily. Reckless driving often goes hand-in-hand with impaired driving/drunk driving charges. Recently, a Massachusetts man pled guilty to both reckless driving and drunken driving, actions which caused a fatal car accident in Methuen.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by reckless driving, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you bring a claim to recover compensation for your injuries.