What is a Careless Driving Charge?

Haven Esme

Individuals who own a vehicle have a responsibility and duty to ensure that they drive in a safe and appropriate manner. When a person drives carelessly, he or she operates a vehicle or streetcar without the proper attention or a reasonable consideration for other people on the road. A careless driving charge has to do with a citation that implies that the person isn't driving their vehicle in a prudent manner.

Putting on lipstick while driving could lead to a careless driving charge.
Putting on lipstick while driving could lead to a careless driving charge.

There are several examples of behavior that could warrant a careless driving charge. Driving through a red light could be considered careless driving, as can driving inappropriately close to another vehicle. Even a person's conduct while they are driving could be considered careless. For example, an individual who is reading a map, looking at another passenger, or tuning a car radio while the vehicle is moving could be in danger of being charged with careless driving.

If an individual is issued a careless driving ticket, he or she often has a chance to fight the ticket legally in court.
If an individual is issued a careless driving ticket, he or she often has a chance to fight the ticket legally in court.

Careless driving laws vary depending upon jurisdiction. The fine could range from a few hundred dollars to over a $1000 US Dollars. Another potential consequence of a person who drives carelessly is the possibility that his or her insurance could increase. Insurance companies routinely monitor an individual’s driving record to determine their premiums. A careless driver could see their insurance increase up to 100%. In some cases, an insurance company may choose to cancel a person's policy.

Careless driving laws vary depending on jurisdiction.
Careless driving laws vary depending on jurisdiction.

Careless driving and reckless driving are not the same; however, they are often confused. A careless driving charge is a lesser offense than reckless driving, since a careless driver isn't deliberately attempting to drive in an inappropriate fashion. A reckless driver, on the other hand, is willingly driving in a way that could endanger themselves and others. Although a careless driving charge isn't considered as severe as reckless driving, it is still considered a serious traffic offense.

Driving through a red light may be considered reckless driving.
Driving through a red light may be considered reckless driving.

If an individual is issued a careless driving ticket, he or she often has a chance to fight the ticket legally. The first step to fighting a careless driving ticket is to appear in court. The individual has a right to have a lawyer or other representation that could help them win their case. In court, the officer must be able to explain why they feel the individual’s driving conduct was careless.

Careless driving may result in an accident.
Careless driving may result in an accident.
Serious cases of careless driving can result in an auto accident.
Serious cases of careless driving can result in an auto accident.

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