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What is Considered Reckless Driving in Georgia?

By Butler Prather LLP on August 12, 2019

Reckless driving is dangerous driving. However, defining reckless driving can be difficult. The term “reckless driving” can mean different things, but one thing is certain – it is illegal in the state of Georgia. Not only is reckless driving illegal, but it can lead to serious injuries or fatalities on the roadways. Today, we want to discuss what reckless driving is and what the consequences are for those found guilty.

What is Considered Reckless Driving in Georgia?

Defining reckless driving

When we turn to Georgia Code Title 40 – Motor Vehicles and Traffic, Section 40-6-390, we see that a person commits reckless driving when they operate their vehicle with “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property…”

The law goes on to say that a person can be charged with a misdemeanor offense for reckless driving and punished:

  • With a fine of up to $1,000
  • Imprisonment up to 12 months
  • Or a combination of both

There are also additional penalties to consider. A reckless driving charge can mean four points against your license and can increase your insurance premiums.

What does reckless driving in Georgia look like?

Everyone in Georgia has seen a driving operating recklessly, particularly if you live near a metropolitan area. Some of the primary reckless driving cases revolve around:

  • Speeding
  • Street racing
  • Using the shoulder or emergency lane to pass a vehicle
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to yield for signs, crosswalks, or signals
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving while distracted by phones, food, books, or anything else
  • Aggressively following another vehicle too closely
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs even with a BAC below the legal limit

Are Georgia DUI charges considered reckless driving charges?

Being charged with driving under the influence is a separate charge in Georgia. However, a person charged with DUI may also be facing charges of reckless driving as well. As we mentioned above, a person who has been drinking but is under the legal blood alcohol level (.08%), can still face a reckless driving charge.

What if reckless driving results in a serious injury?

While reckless driving is a misdemeanor, that assumes nobody was harmed as a result of the reckless behavior. If an individual convicted of reckless driving caused serious injuries or death to another person, they will face more serious felony criminal penalties.

What are some common injuries that result from reckless driving?

Reckless driving can lead to serious injuries. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, we know there were approximately 400,000 vehicle crashes during the last reporting year. These incidents resulted in:

  • 1,430 fatalities
  • 19,405 serious injuries

Some of the most common injuries that occur as a result of reckless driving in Georgia include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

Those found guilty of reckless driving may find themselves facing a personal injury lawsuit for negligence. If the plaintiff can prove that their injuries were caused by the actions of a reckless driver, they could be awarded punitive damages in a civil case. We should note that there does not necessarily have to be a guilty reckless driving verdict for a person to be held liable in a civil personal injury lawsuit.

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