California Motor Vehicle Code 23103

Driving Recklessly

California Vehicle Code 23103 describes reckless driving as "wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property" while driving a vehicle upon a public road, highway, or offstreet parking facility.

Reckless driving may be observed as a variety of different actions taken by a driver and a combined lack of care of the driver which inhibits his ability to practice safe driving in accordance with the law. For instance, if a driver decides to go through a drive-thru and eat a hamburger while driving, doing so may require the driver to remove one hand from the wheel to hold the burger. Focusing on eating the burger, he may have less attention on the road and could begin to swerve. He then may be unable to stabilize the vehicle because he cannot grasp the wheel with both hands. If a police officer were present to observe the apparent lack of control of this vehicle, he may issue an offense.

The reckless driving offense is punished by imprisonment in a county jail for any amount of time between five and 90 days, or a fine between $145 and $1,000 depending on the specific situation. The punishment could also combine both imprisonment and a fine.

Like the hungry driver mentioned above, many drivers like to multi-task while operating a vehicle. Nowadays, people notoriously search for and change CDs, talk on cell phones, text with cell phones, and do other irresponsible actions while driving. Not all of these actions will be punished as reckless driving, but could cause a situation where the driver is seen as showing disregard for others on the road and creating a hazard. If these actions are observed by an officer of the law, a reckless driving,or other offense may be issued.

Other reckless driving offenses may be more deliberate on the part of the driver. Any combination of exceeding the speed limit, quickly changing lanes, tailgating other drivers, driving off the road or in opposing traffic, racing and playing dangerous games while driving, etc., may cause the driver to incur a reckless driving offense, as well as other sorts of offenses.

Drivers should remember to consider whether, at all times while driving, they feel as though they have complete control of the vehicle. If at any moment the answer might be "no", it is the drivers responsibility to correct his or her actions or stop driving.


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