Winter Weather & Traffic Offenses

Huntsville man driving recklesslyA news story reported that an Alabama State Trooper cited a vehicle for going 106 mph in a 70 mph zone when there were snow and ice on the roadway. Aside from a speeding charge, the driver of this vehicle may also be looking at a reckless driving ticket on account of the road conditions. Moral of the story: When the weather outside is frightful… take it slow, take it slow, take it slow!

The reckless driving statute in Alabama is found at Code of Alabama 32-5A-190 and states,

“Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.”

From a practical standpoint, even on a clear roadway with no obstructions, speeding in excess of 30 mph beyond the speed limit will likely result in a reckless driving charge anyway. However, in minor speeding cases, the conditions of the road and the conditions of the car are all relevant in determining whether someone is just speeding or if they are driving recklessly.

For instance, a four-wheel drive pickup truck with tires built for snow and ice maneuvering may not be driving recklessly on snow and ice if speeding because the vehicle is specifically equipped to handle the dangerous road condition. On the other hand, a 2-door, 4-cylinder sedan with only two-wheel drive and worn out tires will operate very differently in the snow and ice, and is more likely to lose control if speeding. In the case of the sedan, the conditions of the road and the car’s ability to handle those conditions can turn a simple speeding case into a legitimate case for reckless driving.

Reckless driving convictions carry far more serious penalties compared to simple speeding tickets. Reckless driving charges result in more points against your license, a suspension of any CDL license, higher insurance premiums and larger fines and court costs.

If you are facing a reckless driving charge or any other traffic offense, and have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys today.