Even though both of these terms sound similar, it is important to know the difference between these two types of offenses.
Florida Statute §316.1925 is the Statute that governs Careless Driving in Florida. The Statute states, “Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.” Careless driving is considered a moving violation and can incur points on your driver’s license and expensive fines, leading to an increase in your insurance premium and possible suspension of your driver’s license. In Florida, it is common for a police officer to issue a careless driving citation to a driver they suspect is at fault in a car accident. It is more common for these citations to be issued in a rear-end collision where the police officer did not witness the accident and the person who was rear-ended did not see how the accident occurred or know why the accident happened.
Reckless Driving is a far more serious matter than Careless Driving and is a criminal traffic offense in Florida. Florida Statute §316.192 is the Statue that governs Reckless Driving in Florida, and the Statute states, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” If you are weaving in and out of traffic while speeding, drag racing with your pals on a Friday night, or fleeing from the police in your car, you are committing a crime that is, for a first-time offense, punishable by up to ninety days in jail and a $500 fine. If you have a previous conviction for reckless driving, it just gets worse – you could be looking at up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If your reckless driving causes an accident that damages property or another person, you could be convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, for which the punishment is up to one year in jail with a fine of $1,000, and if someone is seriously injured or dies as a result, you could be convicted of a first-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In addition, a Reckless Driving conviction will add four points onto your driver’s license.