Careless Driving vs. Reckless Driving

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In Florida, careless driving is a civil traffic offense whereas reckless driving is considered a criminal offense. Florida Statute §316.192 states, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in Florida. Police officers commonly cite careless driving for drivers whom they believe are at fault in a car accident. Careless driving is particularly cited in rear-end collisions when the police officer did not witness the accident and the driver who was rear-ended did not see or know why the accident occurred. Both careless driving and reckless driving endanger the lives of others and, of course, should be avoided.


Jameis Winston recently crashed into a vehicle in Tampa and was cited for careless driving. No one was injured in the incident, in which Winston is reported to have been driving his Ford-F250 pickup on Veterans Expressway when he struck the rear-end of a Subaru Forester. Along with a careless driving citation, Winston may face a $150 fine for failing to slow down in time to prevent running into the back of the Subaru.


Along with a host of other charges, Antonio L. Trevino will face a reckless driving charge with property damage, for a car accident involving a two-car crash in Kenneth City. Trevino’s Chevy Impala was reported going the wrong way on 54th Avenue North. An agent from the Sheriff’s office followed Trevino as he weaved in and out of traffic, without turning on his emergency lights or siren. After a short way, the sergeant did activate his emergency equipment in an attempt to stop Trevino. The Impala did not stop and the sergeant gave up pursuit after a while. A little bit later, a Sheriff’s deputy activated a tire deflation device, but Trevino kept the Impala on the go in a reckless manner. They had a time trying to stop Trevino until, unfortunately, the Impala struck a Ford Winstar turning into a gas station. That crash disabled both vehicles and Trevino was apprehended. The driver of the Ford Winstar, Bernard Deins III of Pinellas Park, who was 65 years old, was taken to a local hospital and reported to have non-life-threatening injuries.


In the 2017 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 316.1925 addresses careless driving. It states, “(1) Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so a not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section. (2) A person who violates this section shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in Chapter 318.”

It is further stated that, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” As stated above, reckless driving is a criminal traffic violation in Florida and carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for a first offense.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, The Beaches, or Pinellas Park, seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. This is especially prudent if you received an injury or incurred medical expenses or lost wages as a result of the accident.