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What Is Reckless Driving in Colorado?

March 7, 2024

Every year, thousands of people in Colorado suffer serious injuries and die in motor vehicle accidents. According to the Department of Transportation, 95,251 car accidents were reported in Colorado in 2022 alone. Reckless drivers are responsible for a high number of motor vehicle collisions in Colorado each year.

Colorado’s Reckless Driving Law

Reckless driving is a dangerous driving practice that endangers all other road users. Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1401(1) states: “A person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, electric scooter, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving

A wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others means a conscious, deliberate and intentional indifference to how the defendant’s actions might – and likely will – result in injury or other damage to someone else. If the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that his or her driving behaviors could injure others but committed the offense anyway, it is reckless driving.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Many different dangerous driver behaviors can constitute reckless driving under Colorado law. Any driver action that is done with a knowing disregard for a foreseeable risk of injury to others can be viewed as reckless driving. Examples include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Street racing
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Tailgating
  • Aggressive or road-rage driving
  • Weaving in and out of multiple lanes
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Unsafe passing or overtaking
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Evading law enforcement

Reckless driving risks the lives of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. It increases the odds of a car accident as well as the severity of collisions that do occur. Sadly, many drivers in Colorado are guilty of reckless driving despite the significant risks involved.

What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. The criminal penalties for a reckless driving conviction include a fine of $50 to $1,000, imprisonment in the county jail for at least 10 days and up to 6 months, or both. A driver found guilty of reckless driving may also have his or her driver’s license suspended or revoked. If reckless driving results in bodily injury or death, the driver can face even greater penalties.

man holding car steering wheel

Holding a Reckless Driver Liable for a Car Accident in Colorado

Colorado is a fault state, which means a car accident victim can file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver or party. If you get injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, his or her car insurance company may be responsible for paying for your medical bills and motor vehicle repairs.

After this type of crash, call 911 immediately to report the accident. Provide your story to the police when they arrive. If a police investigation finds evidence of reckless driving, the at-fault driver may receive a citation. This will be noted in your police report and can be used as evidence during your car insurance claim.

Once you receive medical care for your injuries, contact the reckless driver’s insurance company to file a claim. Before communicating with an insurance claims adjuster, however, contact our Denver car accident attorney at Fang Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help you with the insurance claims process to fight for the financial compensation you deserve from a reckless driver.