Back in January, two FDNY emergency medical technicians ended up in hot water when a video surfaced of one of them rocking out behind the wheel of an ambulance. The video showed the driver bouncing and bopping in his seat as the ambulance barreled down the road in the rain. City officials were quick to slam the act as reckless.
It’s normal to enjoy tunes behind the wheel, and it’s not uncommon to get carried away with your favorite songs, whether it’s head-banging to “Bohemian Rhapsody” or dancing along to Justin Bieber. At what point, though, does rocking out become reckless driving?
In order to get charged with reckless driving, you must commit an act that unreasonably endangers fellow drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists. In the case of the ambulance driver, his eyes were off the road for a substantial amount of time as he mugged for the camera. In addition, he took his hands off the wheel, which meant there were moments when he had no control of the vehicle. The rain only exacerbated the risk. There was no justification for this action that would lead any reasonable person to act in this manner.
Does that mean you can’t enjoy your music while driving? Of course you can! There’s no inherent risk to singing in the car. In order to avoid a reckless driving charge, however, you must keep your attention on the road and your surroundings. Glancing at your friend while you drive is not likely to cause an accident, but extended periods of time with your gaze off the road – either posing for a camera or flailing your head about – presents a serious risk. In addition, keep at least one hand (if not both) on the wheel. Also, if the weather is bad, consider turning down or turning off the music in order to reduce distractions.
Reckless driving more than a traffic violation; it is a serious crime that can result in up to up to 30 days in jail, plus nearly $400 in fines and five points on your license. A conviction means you will have a permanent criminal record. If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving for your “Carpool Karaoke,” you need the help of a skilled attorney. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced criminal defense and traffic attorneys who can help make you a “Free Bird.” Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation about your case today.