When you get behind the wheel of a car, you assume a responsibility to drive with caution and obey traffic laws.  If you violate these responsibilities, you may face penalties, license suspensions, and even jail time.

Of course, though the broad responsibility to drive responsibly is true everywhere, the specifics of traffic laws and the expectations of drivers vary from state to state. It’s therefore helpful to know the specifics of the state you’re driving in.

One of the common charges against irresponsible or dangerous drivers is the charge of “reckless driving.” But does the state of Utah have a precise definition for “reckless driving,” and if so, what is it? Read on to learn more about Utah’s reckless driving laws and how Great West Injury Law can help you if you’re the victim of reckless driving.

The Law’s Definition of ‘Reckless Driving’ in Utah

Utah’s traffic law defines reckless driving as driving that is “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” While this might sound overly broad and contingent, the law goes on to stipulate two possible situations that can constitute reckless driving:

1. Speeding- Previously, Utah’s reckless driving statue did not specify a speed limit in a specific area that could constitute reckless driving. Instead, the definition of reckless driving relied on accruing multiple other violations in a specific time and place, which could include speeding but didn’t necessarily have to.

As of summer 2022, this has changed. According to Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-528, a driver can now be cited for reckless driving if they are “traveling on a highway at a speed of 105 miles per hour or greater.” This means reckless driving can simply mean a driver was traveling too fast on a stretch of highway, even if the driver was following all other traffic laws.

2. Multiple traffic law violations- The other definition of reckless driving relies on traffic violations defined elsewhere in Utah’s traffic code. This definition states that reckless driving can also be when a driver commits “three or more traffic violations […] in a series of acts occurring within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance.”

This means reckless driving can occur when a driver breaks multiple rules in quick succession, within three miles of each other. For example, a driver could be safely driving under the speed limit, but could fail to signal a lane change, drift over the center line, and roll through a stop sign without stopping, meeting the requirements of a reckless driving citation.

What Are Utah’s Penalties for ‘Reckless Driving’?

Reckless driving is quite a serious crime in Utah, and it carries heavy penalties for those convicted. Reckless driving is categorized as a class B misdemeanor. Under Utah Law, this means that reckless driving can be punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum of a $1,000 fine.

In addition, a driver’s first reckless-driving conviction can result in their license being suspended for up to three months. If a driver receives a second reckless-driving conviction within twelve months, a license suspension is mandatory.

Being convicted of reckless driving will also add 80 points to your driving record, which is a substantial step towards the 200 points needed for a license suspension.

Great West Injury Law Can Help

If you’re the victim of a reckless driver, or if you’ve been wrongly accused of reckless driving, Great West Injury Law can help. Our lawyers are deeply knowledgeable about Utah’s traffic laws, and we have experience dealing with courts, handling insurance companies, and gathering evidence to bolster your defense or your claims for rightful compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.