Reckless Driving 101 – Speeding Tickets, Fines and Penalties

reckless driving cartoon
13th Aug,2018

One of the leading causes of death is negligence on the road. When a driver gets behind the wheel and refuses to obey the traffic laws, that’s when people get hurt. This is called reckless driving and you can get a hefty fine for doing it or you can get killed. This is why law enforcers are so persistent in their pursuit against reckless drivers. So, let’s try to examine different types of reckless driving, what kind of trouble it can get you in and what you can do to avoid that.

Different Types of Reckless Driving


This is the most common type of reckless driving but speeding by itself isn’t necessarily reckless driving. Speeding only becomes reckless driving when you’re going 20 to 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, which is something a lot of people do on the highway. This is going to depend on the state’s laws or limits, but typically, it’s considered reckless driving in most states if you’re going 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Bad Weather Driving

When it’s snowing out or it’s wet out, a lot of people tend to forget that their tires don’t have the same traction and still speed or drive uncontrollably. This causes people to spin out or lose control of their vehicle and get into an accident. This is particularly common in areas that don’t see a lot of snow because when it snows in these areas, insurance claims go through the roof.

Drunk Driving

This could be a whole topic on its own, but drunk driving kills many unsuspecting drivers every single year and sometimes, it doesn’t even kill the drunk person. When people get behind the wheel of a vehicle after they’ve been drinking alcohol, they’re putting everyone around them in danger. If you do this, you can lose your license, get yourself killed or kill someone else, which happens every single day all over the world. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, there’s a death every single hour from drunk driving—approximately, that’s 29 people a day.


This is when people driveway too close to another driver on the road and usually are just a few feet away from their bumper. This is dangerous for many reasons. First, do you trust your brakes to be able to stop in time if they have to suddenly stop? It doesn’t give you enough time to react in the case of an accident and you’ll end up rear-ending that driver, which you will be found at fault for.

Illegal Passing

This is when people carelessly pass another person such as on a curve or a road that has solid lines. These solid lines exist for a reason. The solid lines are usually painted in areas where there’s no possibility of passing without spinning out or where you don’t have guaranteed vision ahead of you, so while you’re passing another vehicle could come out of nowhere and smack into you or the driver you’re trying to pass.

Fatality Statistics

It’s estimated that there are 13,000 deaths every single year in the United States that can be attributed to reckless driving. Nearly 1/3 of all accidents are usually the result of reckless driving and those are only the statistics that are reported. In another shocking statistic, it’s estimated that 40% of accidental deaths on the road are the cause of people who are impaired by alcohol behind the wheel.

Penalties & Fines

Penalties and fines differ per state in the United States, just like how the maximum speed varies, too. For example, in Oregon, the allowed maximum speed is 65mph, with a maximum fine of $500; while in Texas, you can speed up to 85mph, while the maximum fine is just $200. There’s a whole wide range of maximum penalty amount in the country, starting from $100 in states like New Mexico, Mississippi, Ohio, and Kentucky, then $2500 for Virginia and Illinois, and up to $5000 in Washington. Imprisonment and license suspension for reckless driving can vary too, from 1 month up to 1 whole year in prison, and suspension from 1 month to 2 years. This map shows complete details on reckless driving penalties for different states in the US, including time in jail, speeding ticket fine, and suspension of license.

If you’re lucky, you’ll only get a fine but it depends on the offense you’ve committed. For example, if you illegally pass someone or you’re found to be speeding, you’ll be pulled over and you’ll probably get a citation which is due in 30 days at the amount of anywhere from $100 to $500. This citation is a reminder to slow it down and a point goes on your license. Once your license reaches a certain amount of points, your license can be suspended temporarily or permanently, which is why it’s so important to drive carefully. These laws exist for a reason.

Drunk driving, however, is taken far more seriously. If you’re found to be drunk driving, you’ll immediately have your license suspended in most states for a set amount of time and usually, if you’re found to be behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated two times in several year periods, you’ll serve mandatory jail time. If you want to avoid jail, simply call a friend or call a taxi when you’ve had a little too much to drink. But how do you know when you’ve had too much to drink?

In every state in the US, you may not have over a .08% blood alcohol concentration. You should be warned that even if you feel sober, taking shots of liquor or hard alcohol can greatly raise your concentration for a short period. Also, if you’ve drunk a lot of beer over a long period, your BAC level will be elevated as well and you’ll be subject to a lot of physical tests if you get pulled over. It’s simply much safer for you to not get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you’re intoxicated.

Reckless Driving Lawyers & Speeding Tickets

This is why a lot of people today have a radar detector because when they’re doing something illegal, they want to know where all the law enforcement is and they want to know where the speed traps are set up. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to do illegal activities. Some decent lawyers can help you reduce the fines but when you’re on dashcam or evidence is found against you to be intoxicated behind the wheel, you’re pretty much screwed.


It’s far easier and safer to simply not get behind the wheel when you’re intoxicated and to obey the traffic laws. You’ll save money on tickets and more importantly, you won’t be putting other people’s lives at risk. You’ll be safe as well. Tens of thousands of deaths every single year are preventable on the road if people just pay more attention and be careful while driving.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.