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What Is Reckless Driving in Colorado?

Reckless driving is a dangerous driver behavior that greatly increases the risk of automobile accidents. In 2020, Colorado reported 622 deaths from motor vehicle accidents – an increase from 597 fatalities in 2019. Driver actions that reach the level of recklessness in Colorado contribute to many catastrophic and fatal car accidents each year.

Colorado’s Definition of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a crime in Colorado. The law that defines reckless driving is Section 42-4-1401 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. It states that a person drives recklessly if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that displays a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or property. Reckless driving can also apply to a person operating a bicycle, electric bike, electric scooter or low-power scooter.

The crime of reckless driving is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. If a driver is convicted of this crime, he or she can face up to 90 days of jail time, a fine of $300 and 8 points on his or her driving record. If a driver accumulates 12 or more points in a 12-month period or 18 points in 24 months, his or her license will be suspended. A driver can have his or her license suspended for fewer points, however, if he or she is a minor.

Examples of Reckless Driving

A wanton or willful disregard for others’ safety means that a driver is behaving in a way that he or she knows (or reasonably should know) will foreseeably injure someone but performs the dangerous act anyway. Reckless driving can mean many different things:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Excessive speeding
  • Drag racing
  • Tailgating
  • Aggressive driving
  • Red-light running
  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Passing a school bus
  • Passing on a blind curve
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Driving at night without headlights
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street

Any action or behavior behind the wheel that obviously increases the risk of an accident can be classified as reckless driving. Sadly, these avoidable driver behaviors or stunts can result in deadly traffic accidents.

Your Rights After Being Hit by a Reckless Driver

If you get involved in a car accident in Fort Collins with a driver that you believe was behaving recklessly, call 911 to report the crash. You must report all car accidents that result in injuries, deaths or property damage. You should always call the police to report reckless driving behaviors, even after a minor wreck, as the other driver may receive a citation. This can serve as evidence during your car accident case.

If you or a loved one was injured by a reckless driver, you can collect financial compensation from his or her insurance provider. Colorado is a fault-based insurance state, meaning you will file your claim with the car insurance company of the at-fault driver. You or your lawyer will then need to prove that the other driver caused or significantly contributed to your crash to recover financial compensation.

You will need clear and convincing evidence that the other driver is guilty of reckless driving to win your case, such as a traffic ticket, police report or eyewitness statements. If a criminal case for reckless driving is brought against the driver, you could also use the results of the criminal case as evidence to support your insurance claim.

Contact an Attorney for Assistance After a Reckless Driving Accident

If you get hit by a reckless driver in Fort Collins, contact a car accident attorney to learn your rights and options. A lawyer will work closely with you to build a case against the reckless driver and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. For more information, consult with a lawyer at Cannon Law for free today. We have years of experience handling cases involving reckless and dangerous drivers in Colorado. We can help you recover from your recent crash.