Key Points of this Article:
- Reckless driving in Kentucky is defined broadly in KRS 189.290, but many different unsafe driving practices can fall under the umbrella of reckless driving.
- Basically, reckless driving is any driving that is “not in a careful manner.” In other words, reckless driving is negligent driving.
- If you are struck and injured by a reckless driver, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against that driver.
- If you have been hurt because of a reckless driver and need fair compensation, seek out a medical evaluation, document your injuries, and speak with a Western Kentucky attorney at Rhoads & Rhoads to learn more about your options for legal action.
We have all seen reckless drivers on the road
If you spot a driver speeding, weaving in between vehicles, taking risks, and seemingly having no regard for safety, what do you do? The first course of action, of course, is to stay as far away from that driver as possible. The second course of action, according to the Kentucky Department of Transportation, is to call either 911 or the Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555. There you can confidentially report the dangerous driver.
Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have the option of avoiding or reporting someone who is driving recklessly. They may hit your vehicle and cause an accident before you even have the chance to take evasive action. If you are injured in an accident like this, you will need an experienced attorney to protect your rights and to provide you with legal advice.
Rhoads & Rhoads personal injury attorneys will deal with insurance companies to make sure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve. If a fair settlement is not reached, we will fight for you in court.
What is reckless driving?
According to Kentucky Revised Statute 189.290, reckless driving occurs when the operator of a motor vehicle doesn’t drive carefully:
(1) The operator of any vehicle upon a highway shall operate the vehicle in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway.
(2) No person shall willfully operate any vehicle on any highway in such a manner as to injure those on the highway.
This is rather a broad definition, so let’s look at some of the ways Kentucky drivers caused accidents in 2020 by not driving carefully, according to Traffic Collision Facts (reported by the Kentucky Traffic Safety Data Services):
- Weaving in traffic was cited as a contributing factor in 186 collisions, 5 of them fatal.
- A driver not being in control was cited as a contributing factor in 14,446 collisions, 221 of them fatal.
- Cell phones were cited as a contributing factor in 961 collisions, 5 of them fatal.
- Disregarding traffic control was cited as a contributing factor in 3,409 collisions, 23 of them fatal.
- Unsafe speed was cited as a contributing factor in 1,299 collisions, 105 of them fatal.
There are plenty of other cited contributing factors that may have also fallen into the category of reckless driving, such as failure to yield, following too closely, improper passing, and the factor simply called “emotional.” Police officers are allowed to cite up to 3 driver factors for each driver, so some of the statistics above may overlap.
We haven’t even mentioned another major reason that a driver may drive recklessly: alcohol. Fully 3,497 of Kentucky collisions in 2020 had alcohol as a contributing factor, and in 1,873 crashes, drug involvement was cited as a contributing factor.
Kentucky operates under a point system for driving offenses.
- For example, driving 16-25 mph over the speed limit will add 6 points to a driver’s license. Driving the wrong way on a one-way street will result in 3 points added to a license.
- Drivers over the age of 18 accumulating 12 points over a 2 year period will have their license suspended. Drivers under the age of 18 will have their licenses suspended if they accumulate 7 points in a 2 year period.
- There are many egregious examples of reckless driving, such as drag racing, driving aggressively, or disregarding public safety in any way. If something is classified specifically as reckless driving, this is considered to be a misdemeanor with penalties that could include a 90-day license suspension as well as a possible jail sentence. This is in addition to 4 points on a license.
- DUI offenses result in the automatic suspension of driving privileges anywhere from 6 months to 60 months, depending on if it is the first or fourth offense.
What recourse do you have if a reckless driver injures you in a traffic accident?
If you were injured in an accident with a reckless driver, you must first collect from your own auto insurance, since Kentucky is a no-fault state. However, it is probable that you will need to pursue a claim against the reckless driver who caused your crash. You are eligible to do this if your medical bills exceed $1,000 or if your injuries are severe. Sadly, in a reckless driving accident, injuries do tend to be serious. You and your attorneys will need to prove that the driver was negligent and also that the driver’s negligence caused your injuries.
You are entitled to recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages, including future earnings
- Services such as housekeeping
- Pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death
Call the Kentucky car accident attorneys at Rhoads & Rhoads at 888-709-9329 to schedule your FREE legal consultation today.