Reckless driving in Illinois carries stiff criminal and civil penalties. Reckless driving poses a danger to drivers, pedestrians, and innocent passengers on Naperville Roads. Too often, reckless driving causes significant injuries. Recently, a Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested by Decatur, Illinois police for reckless driving that resulted in serious and permanent injuries to an innocent driver. To deter reckless driving, a criminal court may impose a variety of severe penalties. In 2007, a then Illinois State Trooper had his license revoked after killing two young women when he was traveling over 120 miles per hour while sending email and talking on his cell phone.
A study conducted by the AAA Foundation, which examined the cause of fatal accidents from 2003-2007, found that reckless and erratic driving was a factor in 7.4% of fatal accidents. According to Illinois law, reckless driving occurs when a person drives a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others or property, or who knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline in the road, like a bridge, railroad crossing, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne. 625 ILCS 5/11-503.
Reckless driving can result large fines and jail time, and a guilty plea for reckless driving may also become important admissible evidence in a civil car accident claim. A guilty plea in traffic or criminal court can serve as evidence of negligence in a civil case (lawsuit) against the driver. It is important to attend any traffic or criminal court proceedings involving the at-fault driver. An experienced car accident attorney will know how to use a guilty plea from a traffic or criminal proceeding to help establish liability in a civil claim against the reckless driver.
As with all car accident cases, a cause of action for driving recklessly will depend on the circumstances. The weather, traffic conditions, number of pedestrians, and other conditions, such as lighting, will be factors to be considered. Based on the conditions presented, an experienced car accident lawyer can recognize when normal driving behavior has turned into reckless driving behavior.