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By Michael Arbeit
Founding Attorney

In the state of New York, reckless driving is defined under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1212 as driving in a manner that “unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This definition does not necessarily involve speeding. Penalties for reckless driving can include fines, imprisonment, and points on the driver’s license, which can lead to increased insurance rates and license suspension or revocation. You could also end up with a permanent criminal record. The law is subjective, relying on officer and court discretion, making legal counsel crucial for those charged​​. The law firm of Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. can vigorously advocate for you if you have been charged with reckless driving behavior. 

Common Non-Speeding Reckless Driving Behaviors

Below are examples of reckless driving  behaviors that could lead to penalties:

  • Aggressive Maneuvers: Aggressive maneuvers on the road include weaving through traffic, making unsafe lane changes, and failing to yield the right of way.
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): While DUI often leads to speeding, it can also result in reckless driving without necessarily breaking the speed limit, such as erratic steering or failing to observe traffic signals.
  • Distracted Driving: Activities like texting, changing the music, eating, or using a navigation system can distract a driver, leading to reckless behavior.
  • Tailgating: Tailgating involves following another vehicle too closely, which can lead to accidents, especially if the front vehicle stops suddenly.
  • Ignoring Traffic Signals: Ignoring traffic signals would include running red lights or stop signs, or failing to adhere to other traffic controls.

Accidents and Consequences As A Result Of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can lead to accidents, including collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or property. As a result, victims of reckless driving may suffer from physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens due to medical bills and vehicle repairs. Law enforcement agencies in New York actively monitor for reckless driving behaviors. This includes the use of patrol cars, traffic cameras, and even undercover operations.

Due to the high volume of reckless driving accidents in New York, public awareness campaigns have been created to address the dangers of reckless driving, emphasizing behaviors other than speeding. New York also encourages defensive driving courses that educate drivers about the risks of reckless driving and how to avoid dangerous situations on the road.

Since cases of reckless driving may lead to court proceedings where the accused may face substantial fines, points on their license, and in severe cases, imprisonment, it is crucial to hire an attorney experienced in criminal traffic law to advocate for you and prove that the driving behavior being challenged was not reckless under the law.

Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. can help you navigate the system and help you avoid the possible consequences of charges being brought as a result of a reckless driving situation. Contact our office to schedule a consultation. 

About the Author
Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. is devoted to all Criminal Defense and  Traffic related matters.  Michael practices primarily in the Criminal and County (Supreme) Courts in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Kings County, New York County and the Bronx County.  Michael is also licensed to practice law in the Federal Courts of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and the Southern District of New York (SDNY).