The majority of car accidents today are caused by what is classified as a distracted driver. However, in addition to that title, there are a few others that may classify a driver as well. These classifications can carry differing punishments and consequences. So, what is the difference between a distracted driver, a negligent driver, and a reckless driver?
A distracted driver can be defined, in layman’s terms, as one whose attention is diverted from the road. Some examples of this are a driver who is texting, eating, applying makeup, or leaning over to pick up something out of a floorboard. This driver classification can be difficult to prove unless there is physical evidence such as an unfinished text on a cell phone, or a witness who is willing to testify. Occasionally, an event can be caught on camera by security systems at a nearby home or business. If a distracted driver denies liability, evidence will be key in determining fault, and deciding which insurance company must pay. Further, if distraction can be proved, a potential large monetary lawsuit may be filed depending on the severity of the accident and injuries.
A negligent driver is one who is simply careless. An example of this type of driver would be one who fails to yield right-of-way. In doing so, he or she may cause an accident that could have been prevented if the rules of the road had been strictly followed. A negligent driver likely does not act with intention, but could have produced a different outcome with more diligence.
A reckless driver is often the most dangerous. He or she acts willfully without regard for the safety of other drivers. An example of this type of driver would be one who drives drunk or intentionally runs a red light. The actions of these types of drivers can, and often does, result in death. For this reason, a reckless driver can also face criminal charges as the result of a car accident for which he or she is found to be at fault.
Though many car accidents are simply that – an accident – motor vehicle statutes that allow drivers to be classified into these categories have aided insurance companies in determining absolute fault and liability.