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Reckless Driving in California

Reckless Driving in California

 

W ith the millions of people here in California driving every single day, it should come as no surprise that there thousands of car accidents daily. Sometimes the accidents couldn’t be avoided, and other times the accidents are caused by a person driving their vehicle in a dangerous fashion.

What many people fail to realize is that driving recklessly is actually a crime here in the state of California. It becomes even more of a crime when that reckless driving causes an accident and someone gets hurt. In order to keep people safe, and to avoid getting a ticket, drivers need to follow the rules of the road.

 California’s Reckless Driving Laws

Here in California, Vehicle Code (VC) 23103 is the law against reckless driving. This law prohibits a person from driving with wanton disregard for the safety of people and property. This is due to the fact that a person driving recklessly is more likely to cause an accident. That is something no one wants to deal with, so lawmakers tried to discourage that kind of behavior by making it illegal.

All sorts of different acts can be considered reckless driving, ranging from speeding and swerving through traffic, all the way down to eating or applying makeup while driving.

If someone else, other than the driver, is injured in an accident caused by reckless driving, then the driver will get into even more trouble. This is regardless if the reckless driver caused the accident. After all, the whole point of the law is to prevent that from happening in the first palace.

Aside from reckless driving being illegal, the act of recording reckless driving, or even just intending to record reckless driving, is illegal. This is done under VC 40008. This law makes it illegal to record reckless driving for commercial purposes.

 The Penalties for Reckless Driving

VC 23103 is a wobbler offense, meaning that when someone is accused of driving recklessly, they face either misdemeanor or felony charges. The severity of the charges depend on whether or not someone, other than the driver, was seriously hurt or if property was damaged.

If there were no injuries, than the driver faces misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

If there were minor injuries to a third party, which can include a passenger in the driver’s vehicle, people in other vehicles, or a pedestrian, then the driver will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If someone suffered any serious injuries, the driver can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. What the driver will face is dependent on how the prosecution goes after the case, or if the driver had a prior conviction for reckless driving, exhibition of speed, or DUI. If charged as a felony, the driver will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

If someone is killed because of the reckless driving, then the driver could face vehicular manslaughter or even second-degree murder charges.

If a person is accused of breaking VC 40008 for recording reckless driving, they will face misdemeanor charges. This comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,500.

However, if a minor was present in the vehicle at the time of the incident, the charges go up to:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $5,000.

 Drive Safely and Avoid a Ticket

Driving recklessly can be done in all sorts of ways, and it is always dangerous. That is why there is a law against reckless driving. Lawmakers didn’t want anyone to get hurt because a driver didn’t take the time to consider other people.

When driving from one place to another, a driver needs to consider everyone else that they are passing by on the road. Speeding, swerving across lanes, and distracted driving put not only the driver, but everyone else, at risk. One small mistake can lead to an accident with deadly consequences. If that happens, the driver will likely face harsher consequences than just driving recklessly.

What do you think of California’s reckless driving laws? Are they justified, or do their consequences need to be readjusted? Let us know what you think in the comments down below and remember to drive safely.

What Counts as Distracted Driving?

What Counts as Distracted Driving?

 

Pretty much every driver out there is aware of that the fact they should not drive while distracted. Some of the worst culprits for causing distractions behind the wheel, are smart phones. These amazingly useful handheld devices allow a person to access the internet and everything held within it. Unfortunately, that is a very dangerous thing to do while driving.

Distracted driving can be deadly, which is why it is illegal here in California. Unfortunately, despite knowing this, many drivers are still very guilty of putting themselves at risk by driving while distracted. 

California’s Different Distracted Driving Laws

As far as California law is concerned, there are two different ways that a person can get into trouble for distracted driving. How a person is charged is dependent on what activity they were performing when they should have been focusing on the road in front of them.

California Vehicle Code (VC) 23123 is the state’s cellphone and handheld device use while driving law. This law makes it illegal for anyone to use a cellphone, or other handheld electronic device, for any reason while driving. However, there are a few exceptions to this law:

  • Drivers are allowed to use devices if they are setup for a hands-free mode.
  • Drivers are allowed to use phones while driving if they are calling 911.
  • Emergency services drivers are permitted to use cellphones while driving.
  • This law doesn’t apply to drivers driving on their own personal property.

VC 23124 is similar to the above law, but is directed at minors, anyone under the age of 18. This law states that any driver under the age of 18 is never allowed to use a cellphone or handheld device while driving, regardless if it is in a hands-free mode or not.

VC 23103 is the state’s law surrounding reckless driving. This law makes it illegal for a person to drive on any road or parking area with wanton disregard for the safety of people or property. Law enforcement officers can sometimes use this law as another way to charge a driver with distracted driving. While the state’s distracted driving law only mentions driving with cellphones, distracted driving can mean all sorts of different activities.

Some acts that can be distracting while driving include:

  • Applying makeup.
  • Changing clothes.
  • Eating.
  • Looking for something in the back seat.
  • Petting an animal.
  • Reading a book or newspaper.
  • Talking.
  • Watching a movie.

All of these activities detract from a driver’s focus on the road, thereby making them dangerous to do while behind the wheel.

 Penalties for Distracted Driving in California

The legal penalties a driver can face for distracted driving vary depending on the law they have been charged with and how severe the incident was. For instance, a person accused of VC23123 will only face infraction level charges. This means the driver won’t face any jail time, but will have to deal with a $20 ticket for a first time offense, and a $50 ticket for any subsequent offenses.

If a minor is caught breaking VC 23124, they will face the same fines as an adult would.

If someone is charged with VC 23103 for distracted driving, they will likely face misdemeanor charges, unless someone was injured. Misdemeanor charges for this law come with:

  • 5 to 90 days in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • 2 points on the driver’s record.

 The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is very dangerous. In fact, some studies have found that distracted driving is even more dangerous than driving while drunk. This seems to be due to the fact that drunk drivers are still trying to focus on the task of driving. Meanwhile, distracted drivers are only giving half of their attention to the task. This makes them much more likely to get into an accident, which could have very serious consequences.

On top of distracted driving being incredibly risky, it can also get a person into legal trouble. Who would want to get a ticket, or face possible jail time, just because they were eating or applying makeup behind the wheel of a vehicle? A driver needs to focus primarily on driving and getting to their destination safely.

What do you think of California’s different approaches to distracted driving? Are the laws and how they are applied fair, or do you think they need to be readjusted? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.