What is Reckless or Wanton Conduct?

In car accident cases, a person acts with recklessness or wanton conduct by driving with gross negligence or carelessness.  Car accidents involving drivers using reckless or wanton driving may be deemed malicious. This is not intentional behavior, but a wanton disregard for the risks the driver’s conduct that will likely cause a car accident or injury car accident. A wanton act disregards the life, body, safety, reputation, or property rights of another person. Essentially, to be reckless conduct, the defendant must commit the driving offense, knowing it may create a unreasonable risk of harm to others who are present or the defendant reasonably believes will be in harm’s way on the road. 

Reckless driving is when a driver operates their vehicle in a way that poses a risk to others. It typically involves a conscious disregard for the safety of another person on a public road. Courts consider a number of factors when determining reckless driving. Factors considered in reckless driving car accident cases include: time of day, driving conditions, weather conditions, driver’s qualities, use of alcohol, congestion where the reckless driving accident occurred, and many other factors that point towards or against a driver’s conduct being reasonable or reckless driving. 

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is more than making a traffic violation or mistake. In order for driver’s conduct to be reckless driving, it must be willful and with an active disregard for safety. Reckless driving does not require a car accident, nor does it require another driver to be on the roadway. A driver can endanger their own life or risk damaging their own property to qualify as reckless driving. Typically, reckless driving criminal charges or simply identification comes after a personal injury car wreck. 

What are Common Examples of Reckless Driving?

  • Excessive speeding 
  • Failure to use signals
  • Drinking and driving
  • Forcing others off the road
  • Tailgating
  • Passing along the shoulder
  • Driving the wrong way on a street
  • Disregarding stop signs

How is Reckless or Wanton Conduct Determined?

The objective test asks what a reasonable person would have done in the defendant’s position. If the defendant causes an accident while drag racing in a residential neighborhood, a court can find them to have been reckless because a reasonable person would have realized the risks and acted differently. 

There is also a subjective test. Recklessness is different from negligence because even though the defendant does not intend to harm another person, their actions are so egregious that it would have been foreseeable and almost certain that harm would come from it. For example, drinking and driving is reckless conduct because even though the driver may not have intended to injure another person, it is easily foreseeable because the senses are slowed while drinking, the defendant would not be able to avoid an accident. 

What is the Punishment for Reckless Driving in Oklahoma?

Every person convicted of reckless driving in Oklahoma can receive punishment up to the following, beyond a potentially costly and litigious personal injury lawsuit for an injury accident:

  • First Conviction: 5 to 90 days in jail, a fine of $100 to $500, or a combination of both. 
  • Second or a subsequent conviction: 10 days to 180 days in jail, a fine of $150 to $1,000, or a combination of both.

What is Intentional Misconduct?

Intentional misconduct is a tort—it is a wrongful act that is done on purpose. The defendant may or may not intend to cause harm to another person, but regardless the intent to commit a wrongful act is intentional misconduct. Intentional misconduct is different from negligence because the person intends the harm.

An example of intentional misconduct in motor vehicle accidents is when a driver purposefully drives their car into another person because they are angry at them, such as road rage. This is potentially criminal misconduct that can result in jail time for the driver, as well as civil misconduct that awards damages to the injured party. 

Most personal injury cases do not involve the level of negligence or misconduct by drivers that rises to the level of wanton disregard for safety or malicious conduct; however, it is important to be aware of these potential consequences, if you are stopped for reckless driver and/or if you are involved in a personal injury car accident case.

Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Personal Injury Advocates

Experience matters when you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of the recklessness or intentional conduct of someone in a vehicle accident in Oklahoma. It is important to know the Oklahoma personal injury lawyer you hire is dedicated to your cause and versed in all aspects of car accident law in Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to FIERCE ADVOCACY for accident victims and will fight for you. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and Top 40 under 40. Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and fight for compensation in your car accident case in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.