Weather Related Reckless Driving

Reckless driving brings to mind someone driving quickly and erratically, yet it can often be related to driving at normal speeds in bad weather.

Snow on the road

Photo by: Paul Heaberlin

Photo by: Paul Heaberlin

Early Saturday morning the entire Wasatch Front woke up to snowfall. While the wintry wonderland is beautiful to look at or play in, it can be treacherous for drivers. Once roads were reopened, all along I-15 were signs warning drivers to slow down and to be aware of icy roads. Completely ignoring these warnings, many drivers continued to fly down the interstate at regular freeway speeds. Because of weather related reckless driving, several accidents occurred over the weekend resulting in numerous injuries and one death.

Alter driving for weather

When drivers travel at posted speeds but there is weather present that may limit their visibility or stopping time, they may receive a moving violation for driving too fast for conditions. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, drivers may end up facing charges of reckless driving instead. Utah Code 41-6-528 states: “A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle: in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; […]”. Reckless driving is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Reckless driving charges may be subjective

Photo by: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Photo by: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Utah has regular speed limits posted yet nowhere to be found are there separate speed limits for varying degrees of rain, fog, snow, or wind. For this reason, how fast a driver can safely travel is really up to the individual to determine what they are comfortable with. These guidelines that can end with charges for driving too fast for conditions or the related reckless driving are therefore subjective and may be challenged in court. For more information on fighting weather related reckless driving charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

The Risk of Elderly Drivers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are roughly 40 million elderly drivers in the United States and they are at a higher risk of getting wounded or injuring someone else in a vehicle crash the older they get.

Fragile bodies of elderly drivers

Photo by: Nicolas Alejandro

Photo by: Nicolas Alejandro

Elderly drivers are at risk of injury every time they get into a car. As they age, their bodies are less able to withstand injury. A crash that would leave younger drivers with bumps and bruises may leave elderly drivers with shattered bones and internal hemorrhaging. Beyond their own safety, there is risk to the well-being of those around them.

Deteriorating senses

Although many elderly drivers can still be excellent drivers, their eyesight, memory, and reaction time can deteriorate dramatically. These senses can begin failing for the younger of the elderly drivers, such as those between the ages of 65 and 70; however most driving problems don’t increase until well into their 80’s. The National Institute of Health states that these depreciations with age can cause “Common mistakes of older drivers [which] include:

• Failing to yield the right of way

• Failing to stay in lane

• Misjudging the time or distance needed to turn in front of traffic

• Failing to stop completely at a stop sign

• Speeding or driving too slowly.”

Elderly drivers that are responsible for accidents will face the same charges as younger drivers. Depending on the severity of the accident, this can include charges such as reckless driving and vehicular homicide.

Use wisdom behind the wheel

Photo by: Jessie Jacobson

Photo by: Jessie Jacobson

Most elderly drivers have several decades of experience behind them before they hit the road each day; however they need to use their years of wisdom to decide when it is a good time to hang up the keys. For those elderly drivers who are already facing charges for severe crimes that stem from vehicle accident, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney to help avoid spending the silver years behind metal bars.