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What is a Careless Driving Charge?

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  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Individuals who own a vehicle have a responsibility and duty to ensure that they drive in a safe and appropriate manner. When a person drives carelessly, he or she operates a vehicle or streetcar without the proper attention or a reasonable consideration for other people on the road. A careless driving charge has to do with a citation that implies that the person isn't driving their vehicle in a prudent manner.

There are several examples of behavior that could warrant a careless driving charge. Driving through a red light could be considered careless driving, as can driving inappropriately close to another vehicle. Even a person's conduct while they are driving could be considered careless. For example, an individual who is reading a map, looking at another passenger, or tuning a car radio while the vehicle is moving could be in danger of being charged with careless driving.

Careless driving laws vary depending upon jurisdiction. The fine could range from a few hundred dollars to over a $1000 US Dollars. Another potential consequence of a person who drives carelessly is the possibility that his or her insurance could increase. Insurance companies routinely monitor an individual’s driving record to determine their premiums. A careless driver could see their insurance increase up to 100%. In some cases, an insurance company may choose to cancel a person's policy.

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Careless driving and reckless driving are not the same; however, they are often confused. A careless driving charge is a lesser offense than reckless driving, since a careless driver isn't deliberately attempting to drive in an inappropriate fashion. A reckless driver, on the other hand, is willingly driving in a way that could endanger themselves and others. Although a careless driving charge isn't considered as severe as reckless driving, it is still considered a serious traffic offense.

If an individual is issued a careless driving ticket, he or she often has a chance to fight the ticket legally. The first step to fighting a careless driving ticket is to appear in court. The individual has a right to have a lawyer or other representation that could help them win their case. In court, the officer must be able to explain why they feel the individual’s driving conduct was careless.

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