Pothole Dodging and Reckless Driving

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

In New York, dodging potholes is practically an art form. One website even ranked New York City sixth worst city in America for potholes. Most of drivers would prefer to avoid the risk of a bent rim or damaged undercarriage, and will try to give potholes a wide berth. Drivers who aren’t cautious, however, could get nailed with something even worse than damage to the car: a reckless driving charge.

In order to be charged with reckless driving, a driver has to commit an act or acts that fulfill two criteria. The first is to demonstrate a conscious disregard for the safety of other drivers. The second criterion is that the action must represent a gross deviation from the standard of conduct. In other words, it is not a normal response to the situation.

In most cases, a minor swerve around a pothole would not be considered unsafe or a gross deviation. In order to justify the charge, your action would have to be fairly extreme. For example, if you swerved very suddenly, jumped all the way into the other lane, and nearly (or actually) caused an accident, that could be justification. You could also face a charge if you swerved into oncoming traffic, which an officer would almost certainly see as a gross deviation of normal conduct.

Reckless driving can also apply in situations where drivers commit multiple serious infractions. In the case of dodging potholes, if you commit an unsafe lane change while driving at a truly excessive rate of speed – or worse, while drunk – that increases your chances of a reckless driving charge (on top of tickets for the other infractions).

A reckless driving charge is a serious crime and a conviction means that you will have a permanent criminal record. This in addition to up to 30 days in jail, nearly $400 in fines, and five points on your license. If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving or any other traffic related offense in New York, 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 protect your legal rights. Call 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation about your case today.

Reckless Driver Kills 4-Year and Injures Her Grandma

10th Avenue, NYC arterial road.
10th Avenue, NYC arterial road. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, on the Upper West Side of NYC, a 4-year old girl lost her life due to the negligence of a driver trying to evade the police. The driver, who was in an SUV, was involved in a police pursuit at the time he struck the 4-year old and her grandmother. Both victims were rushed to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.

The Times spoke with a witness who reported that an SUV “was racing north on Amsterdam Avenue with a police car in pursuit when it swerved onto the sidewalk.” According to the police, shortly before the accident, the driver of the SUV had been pulled over for reckless driving. However, as the two officers exited their patrol car to approach, the SUV sped away.

During the pursuit, the driver lost control of his vehicle and struck a building approximately 15 blocks away. As he backed up, he struck the 4-year old and her grandmother.

The driver attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended. “It was a young guy driving the car,” said Nancy Caviera who witnessed the tragedy. “The police were trying to stop him.” Another witness explained, “He sped up to get away from the police—that’s when he hit the lady and the child.” Multiple reports say both victims were pinned against a building.

Unfortunately, this horror story is not an isolated incident. The 4-year old girl who was killed in this accident was at least the fourth child under 12 to be killed by a New York City motorist in 2013.

The mother of the 4-year old girl noted, “This is so hard … The horrific nature of this accident just causes every parent to step back and think about if it was your child.”

Borough President Scott Stringer promised “some tough questions” would be asked in an investigation. “We want to know whether protocols were observed. The police are going through their own investigation,” he said.

Remember, if you find yourself being pulled over by the police, you should never—under any circumstances—attempt to outrun them. Lastly, if you happen to get into an accident, never flee the scene (no matter how scared you might be) or you might get charged with the underlying offense (e.g. Reckless Driving – VTL 1212) as well as Leaving the Scene of an Accident (VTL 600).

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