Driving is a privilege given to you by the state, and as a privilege, the state can take it away. To make things clear, the state puts laws into place to govern drivers and to help ensure roadways remain safe for everyone.
One of the themes with road laws is that they enforce safe driving behaviors. Two laws that address this are the careless driving statute and the reckless driving statute, but differentiating between the two can be tricky.
The Florida Statutes define reckless driving as a situation where a driver’s actions behind the will show a disregard for the safety of others. It might include excessive speeding in a school zone, leading officers on a high-speed chase or driving under the influence of a substance.
The Florida Statutes define careless driving as not showing regard for barriers on roadways or others on the road. A violation might include something like running up on a curb and hitting a sign or taking a curve too wide and causing another vehicle to go off the road.
In comparing the two violations, reckless driving is more severe. The penalties include fines, jail time and driver’s license suspension. This charge also typically accompanies other charges, which bring additional penalties. It can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the details of the situation and any damage or injuries.
Careless driving is a moving violation that may also include fines and license suspension, but the penalties are typically less harsh. This type of violation is often a misdemeanor. However, damage or injuries resulting from a situation could increase the penalties.