Houston Reckless Driving

Houston Reckless Driving

Understanding the Dangers of Reckless Driving in Houston

Houston Reckless Accident Lawyer

Road safety is paramount, but infractions inevitably occur, leading to some unexpected and unfortunate situations. A common traffic violation marring the streets of Houston is reckless driving. This offense, comprising various dangerous behaviors, poses significant risks to all road users.

A car accident caused by a reckless driver can forever change your quality of life. Houston traffic is challenging for everyone, but it takes just one reckless driver to cause havoc. 

If you’re involved in a Houston car accident, the moment of impact is when the legal clock begins ticking on your time limit for pursuing a civil lawsuit. If you suffered serious injuries or lost a close loved one due to a reckless driver, consider contacting a Houston reckless driving lawyer today.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Texas transportation code defines reckless driving as driving a motor vehicle with willful disregard for the safety of others or personal property. Common examples of reckless driving behaviors can include but are not limited to excessive speeding, tailgating, illegal passing, such as passing on a curve or using the shoulder to overtake other vehicles, and failing to signal. Other behaviors like racing other vehicles, ignoring traffic signals, or abruptly changing lanes without signaling also fall under reckless driving. 

Reckless driving charges may involve misdemeanors and/or felonies, depending upon the harm caused to others and property. Examples of reckless driving include:

This isn’t a complete list of all types of reckless driving, but one thing is certain: drivers who fail to obey the rules of the road place everyone around them at risk for serious harm. If you or a loved one experienced a traumatic accident that resulted in severe injuries, a Houston reckless driving lawyer can help. Criminal charges serve to punish an offender. 

While a conviction may serve as one form of justice, it does nothing to pay for your damages. Medical expenses, combined with an inability to work, can cause you to experience significant financial stress. Fortunately, you do not have to face these challenges alone. 

A Houston car accident lawyer can assist you by protecting your right to compensation. A financial award is never guaranteed; however, such an award is worth pursuing when you’ve suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence.

Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving

What is Reckless Driving?

While reckless driving and careless driving offenses often overlap, it’s important to distinguish them, as the penalties associated can vary significantly. Both involve elements of dangerous driving, but the key difference lies in the degree of disregard for safety and lawful driving rules exhibited by the motorist.

Under Texas law, careless driving refers to driving without due care or operational control but doesn't necessarily signify an intentional dismissal of safety concerns. It could include driving distractions such as using a mobile, eating food, or adjusting the radio. Some consequences may include fines, traffic school mandates, or demerit points on the driver's license.

Reckless driving, on the other hand, implies a willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others. Reckless drivers are aware that their driving behavior is dangerous, but they deliberately ignore the risk. As previously mentioned, instances of reckless driving can be significantly more serious, such as excessive speeding or street racing.

Comparatively, the penalties for reckless driving are more severe and can lead to significant fines, license suspensions, and even imprisonment. Misidentification can lead to unforeseen implications or hurdles during legal proceedings, so differentiating between these two offenses is crucial.

Legal Consequences of Reckless Driving in Houston

Driving recklessly on the roads of Houston is not only hazardous, but it also carries heavy legal consequences. Per Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 545.401, a reckless driving violation is a misdemeanor criminal charge.

First-time offenders can expect to face monetary penalties of up to $200. Beyond this, a jail term not exceeding 30 days or both such fine and confinement can be enforced. These penalties escalate with repeated offenses, transforming from misdemeanors to possible felony offenses with extended jail time and higher fines.

In addition to these immediate legal repercussions, a reckless driving charge also implicates some long-term penalties. It could result in the suspension or revocation of the driver's license and mandatory participation in driver safety courses. The charge and subsequent conviction become part of the driver's record, making an impact on future legal proceedings related to traffic violations.

In addition to these possible repercussions for reckless driving, the most tragic and serious consequences are the injuries and loss of life that these accidents can cause. Victims and their families deserve justice and the legal remedies that can help them hold those responsible accountable for their actions. 

Why Is Reckless Driving So Common in Houston?

Houston is notorious for its bad traffic. The city ranks 8th in the nation in terms of worst city for traffic congestion, which is well-known and understood by area residents. The time spent sitting in traffic can fray even the calmest of nerves. Still, it’s no excuse for reckless action by other drivers. From weaving in and out of traffic to failing to watch for stopped traffic, reckless drivers take chances without thought or care for those around them. The results are often catastrophic for other drivers. A rear-end collision, a rollover, or a side-swipe accident are just a few of the possible types of accidents. Houston drivers must share the road responsibly. 

A Texas driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. While a criminal court may take away an at-fault driver’s driving privileges, this does nothing to pay your mounting medical costs. If another driver fails to use care and causes serious harm to you or a loved one, contact a Houston car accident law firm as soon as possible. A lawyer will understand the challenges you face with your recovery and your expenses. Give careful thought to seeking the help of an experienced Houston reckless driving lawyer today.

How to Identify a Reckless Driver

Increasing your safety on the road involves being alert and aware, particularly when it comes to identifying potentially reckless drivers. Recognizing certain signs of reckless driving can provide crucial moments to safeguard oneself from an unfortunate incident. Here are some common signs that you might be sharing the road with a reckless driver:

  • Excessive Speeding: This is one of the most common signs of a reckless driver. If a vehicle significantly exceeds the speed limit or weaves through traffic at high speeds, the driver is displaying reckless behavior.
  • Frequent and abrupt lane changes: Watch for vehicles constantly switching lanes without signaling, often done at high speeds. This erratic movement with little regard for other vehicles is a clear sign of reckless driving.
  • Tailgating: Reckless drivers often exhibit impatience, including tailgating or following too closely behind other vehicles, causing dangerous situations if the front vehicle stops suddenly.
  • Ignoring traffic signals: Running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs is another telling sign of reckless driving behavior.
  • Illegal passing: Look for vehicles passing in zones where it's expressly prohibited because of limited visibility or ongoing traffic, such as hills or curves, intersections, pedestrian crosswalks, or over solid yellow or white lines.
  • Distracted Driving: If a driver seems more interested in their phone, the radio, or anything else other than the road, this distracted driving can also be considered reckless.

While these signs can tip you off to a potential reckless driver, it's equally crucial to maintain safe driving habits yourself. Practice defensive driving, always stay aware of your surroundings, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and abide by all traffic laws. Lastly, if you notice a particularly dangerous driver, consider contacting local law enforcement with your concerns to help keep Houston roads safer for all.

How to Report a Reckless Driver in Houston

Reckless drivers pose significant risks to everyone who shares the roadways with them. Reporting these dangerous drivers improves the safety of Houston streets and possibly prevents a tragic accident. Here's how to report a reckless driver in the city of Houston:

First, ensure you are safe and not in immediate harm's way before making any attempt to report a reckless driver. Do not follow or try to stop the driver yourself, as it can result in more dangerous situations.

Next, capture as much information as you safely can about the vehicle and driver. This includes the make, model, color of the vehicle, the license plate number, and, if possible, any distinguishing features of the vehicle or driver. Also, make a mental note of the time, date, and location of the incident, along with the specific reckless behavior observed.

In Houston, direct your report to the Houston Police Department's non-emergency line at 713-884-3131. Provide them with the information you've gathered. Always remember, if you consider the driving behavior to be an immediate threat to public safety, call 911 instead. Another way to report reckless drivers in Houston is through the City of Houston's website or by calling 311. The Citizen's Net Report Form consists of a questionnaire that allows residents to report reckless drivers in their neighborhoods.

​​What to Do After a Reckless Driving Accident

Despite our best efforts to practice defense driving, accidents may still happen. If you find yourself involved in a crash due to reckless driving, you would need to take prompt actions for your safety and to protect all your legal rights. The unfolding scenes could be chaotic, but keeping calm and following these steps could greatly benefit any future legal matters:

  • Ensure Safety: First and foremost, check your safety and that of others involved. If anyone is hurt, call for immediate medical attention.
  • Contact Law Enforcement: Dial 911 to report the accident. When the officers arrive, provide an accurate account of the incident. Their reports will serve as crucial evidence in any future legal proceedings.
  • Document the Scene: If possible, gather evidence on the scene. Take photographs or videos of the vehicles, injuries, skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs, and anything else that might be relevant.
  • Exchange Information: Obtain the other driver's name, contact details, driver's license number, and insurance information. Also, note down the make, model, and license plate number of all vehicles involved.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Regardless of the visible injuries, seeking professional medical services is important. Some injuries may present symptoms at a later stage, so associate any slight discomfort with the accident.
  • Contact Your Insurance: Report the accident to your insurance company. Be honest about the events, but avoid statements that attribute fault.
  • Consult With an Attorney: Finally, contact our law firm for a consultation. Our attorneys can guide you on the next steps, protecting your rights, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring you get the fair compensation you deserve.

Protecting Your Best Interests After a Reckless Driving Accident

car accident case

​​The split-second a reckless driver collided with your vehicle is the moment your life changed forever. The driver who failed to follow the rules of the road must face responsibility for those careless actions which have gravely affected your life. Such behavior demands accountability and a strong fight for compensation. 

A civil case is your opportunity to hold the at-fault party accountable and to fight for compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Consider seeking the assistance of a Houston law firm without delay after a reckless driving accident in Houston. 

A Houston Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help You

Hiring a lawyer does not mean you are weak—it simply means that you want to protect your right to fair compensation. Look for a Houston car accident lawyer who can deal aggressively with insurance companies but compassionately toward you. 

If you experienced serious injuries or lost a close loved one, consider taking the first step toward a civil claim and lawsuit by contacting a Houston lawyer today. The reckless actions of another driver demand accountability. You do not have to fight for justice alone. No one particularly enjoys the daily challenges of Houston traffic, but when reckless drivers disregard traffic laws and take matters into their own hands in an attempt to reach their destinations sooner, they could cause you serious harm. Make the smart choice. Contact a Houston reckless driving accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options.