Reckless driving refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous for the circumstances, this would include driving too fast for conditions, even if it is the same as the posted speed limit.
What types of scenarios would be considered reckless? One example would be driving 25 mph in a residential neighborhood where children are playing in the middle of the street, while the driver may not be driving above the posted speed limit, they are certainly driving too fast for conditions and are putting the children's lives at risk. Quickly accelerating in a parking lot full of pedestrians to the point where the vehicle leaves behind tread marks is also dangerous and could be categorized as reckless driving.
Another example would be driving 55 or 65 mph on the freeway during a rain storm, even if the driver is driving according to the posted speed limit, driving at speeds in excess of 55 or 65 mph would be considered dangerous. While reckless driving certainly involves driving too fast for weather conditions, it has a lot to do with using good judgment. Yes, the posted speed limits are there for a reason; however, there are outside conditions or variables that can alter the situation or road conditions dramatically. Due to this fact, reckless driving is considered misdemeanor offense in most jurisdictions, and even driving after drinking but not quite drunk cab be considered reckless driving.
In the state of Florida, reckless driving is covered under Section 316.192 of the Florida Statutes. Under §316.192, it is unlawful for anyone to operate a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for others' safety, and running from law enforcement is considered reckless driving per se. Under Section 316.192, anyone convicted under this section shall be punished by:
- Up to 90 days incarceration or a maximum $500 fine, or both on a first conviction.
- On a second or subsequent conviction, up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.
If someone was injured as a result of the reckless driving, then the state may impose stiffer fines and penalties.
In St. Johns County, we've seen people get arrested for reckless driving because they are driving too fast. Speeding alone is not sufficient to support a conviction for reckless driving. See Bolick v. Sperry, 88 So. 2d 495, 497 (Fla. 1956); Preston v. State, 56 So. 2d 543, 544 (Fla. 1952); State v. Knight, 622 So. 2d 188 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993).