[Video Summary] How Reckless Driving Causes Car Crashes
- Reckless driving in Missouri is referred to as "careless and imprudent driving," which encompasses actions like excessive speeding, distracted driving, street racing, road rage, and driving under the influence.
- If you're in a car crash caused by a reckless driver, prioritize safety by moving your vehicle to a safe location, assessing injuries, and calling 9-1-1 for medical attention if necessary.
- Report the accident to the police and collect information from the other driver, including contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. Obtain witness contact information as well.
- Document the scene with photos or videos, noting vehicle damage, road conditions, and the date and time of the accident.
- It's advisable to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney, like the team at Peterson and Associates, to navigate the complex process and potentially maximize compensation for your injuries. They offer a free, no-obligation consultation.
It seems obvious that if you drive a vehicle in a reckless manner, you are likely to cause an accident. However, if you are the victim of a crash caused by another driver and you need to prove that they were at fault, it’s important to understand the legal charge of reckless driving in Missouri. In other words, what did the other driver do that caused the crash, and did their actions violate traffic law? If so, it will be easier to hold them accountable for compensating you. We take a look at what is considered to be reckless driving under Missouri law and how it can contribute to the cause of a crash.
Careless and Imprudent Driving Charges in Missouri
Missouri traffic laws do not use the term “reckless driving” to refer to the kinds of dangerous driver actions that can lead to accidents. Instead, the law requires all drivers to operate their vehicles in a careful, prudent manner, at a safe speed, and with the highest degree of care. This requirement casts a wide net over a range of actions and behaviors that could cause a crash. It is up to the discretion of law enforcement officers to charge a driver with careless and imprudent driving if they believe the driver has violated the law.
Reckless actions that can be charged as careless and imprudent driving include the following:
- Excessive speed. In some states, exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 mph is grounds for a speeding ticket to be upgraded to a reckless driving charge. In Missouri, police can upgrade any speeding ticket to a careless and imprudent charge if they decide the speed showed a deliberate disregard for the safety of others. For example, driving even five or ten mph above the speed limit in bad weather could be considered reckless driving.
- Distracted driving. Doing anything behind the wheel that distracts a driver’s attention from the task of driving could endanger others and be considered careless. Using a cellphone, eating or drinking, putting on makeup, talking to passengers, handling pets, disciplining children in the back seat, and many other actions could take a driver’s eyes off the road long enough to cause a serious crash. A police officer might decide to charge the driver with careless and imprudent driving.
- Street racing. Pre-arranged drag races, as well as impromptu races between strangers from a red light, endanger other drivers and pedestrians in the area and are illegal. Drivers who are caught or who cause accidents and injuries by street racing might be charged with reckless driving, as well as other moving violations.
- Road rage. When drivers become enraged by the actions of those around them, and they purposely tailgate, cut them off, run them off the road, slow down or stop suddenly in front of them, verbally abuse or threaten them with weapons, or do anything else that endangers others, they could cause an accident and could be charged with reckless driving.
- Impaired driving. While Driving Under the Influence is its own criminal charge, law enforcement is within its rights to add additional charges when arresting an impaired driver, including careless and imprudent driving.
The charges faced by the driver who caused your accident only matter in your case in that they can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault in causing your accident and injuries. The charges can be used as evidence with their insurance company or in a civil lawsuit to hold the driver accountable for compensating you for the harm they have caused.
What to Do After You Were Injured in a Crash With a Reckless Driver
If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed in a crash with a driver you believe was driving recklessly, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and strengthen your claim for compensation. As with any victim of a serious car crash, we recommend doing the following if you are able:
- Ensure your safety. Move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible, away from traffic. Turn on hazard lights and set up warning triangles or flares if necessary.
- Assess injuries. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Call emergency services immediately if anyone requires medical attention.
- Contact the authorities. Report the accident to the police, providing details about the incident and the reckless driver involved. Do not allow the other driver to talk you out of calling the police.
- Gather information. Collect information from the other driver(s) involved, including their name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. If there are witnesses, obtain their names and contact information as well.
- Document the scene. Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant landmarks. Note the date, time, and weather conditions.
- Notify your insurance company. Report the accident to your insurance provider, giving them accurate details of the incident and the other driver's information. You are only obligated to give basic information at this time, and you should not discuss filing a claim on your own insurance policy yet.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don't have visible injuries, it's important to get a thorough medical evaluation after an accident to ensure any hidden injuries are identified and treated.
- Preserve evidence. Keep copies of all documentation related to the accident, such as police reports, medical records, and correspondence with insurance companies or attorneys.
- Consult with an attorney. If you sustained significant injuries or are facing challenges with insurance claims, you should seek legal counsel to protect your rights and pursue appropriate compensation. It costs you nothing to consult with an attorney, and it could significantly increase the value of your claim.
While these steps can be helpful in securing the compensation you deserve after a crash that was not your fault, not doing them is not a dealbreaker. If you were seriously hurt in the crash, you might not be able to do anything at the scene other than to get medical assistance—and that’s ok. The sooner you talk to a car accident attorney, however, the better it is for your claim.
[Video Transcript] How Reckless Driving Causes Car Crashes
Hi I'm Attorney Kevin Young, with Peterson and Associates in Kansas City. Today I'll be talking about reckless driving. Missouri law doesn't use the term reckless driving it uses the term careless and imprudent driving which basically means the same thing. This includes things like excessive speeding distracted driving street racing and road rage and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you're involved in a car crash caused by a reckless driver your safety matters most. If you can move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic assess the injuries of yourself and anybody else in your car and immediately call 9-1-1. If anybody needs medical attention even if you don't have obvious serious medical injuries seek medical attention when you can some injuries may take some time to reveal themselves.
Next contact the police to report the accident gather information from the other driver including contact information their license plate number and insurance information. If there are witnesses be sure to get their contact information as well take pictures or videos of the scene taking note of vehicle damage road conditions and the date and time of the accident.
Finally consult with an attorney. A car crash caused by a reckless driver can be difficult to navigate by yourself.
"An experienced auto accident attorney will make the process easier, less stressful, and you will often get a better result."
So don't wait call the 8's today for free, no obligation consultation. You focus on your recovery and getting better and the team at Peterson and Associates will fight to get you the most possible money in your pocket. Because when you're Injured, Results Matter!