OpenClose Menu

View Our Full List of Courts:

New York Legislature Is Serious About Quelling Reckless Driving

The New York Senate has passed a bill that substantially increases the penalties for some driving offenses, reclassifying reckless driving as a Class A misdemeanor and adding a new category of felony offense, aggravated reckless driving. If the Assembly and the governor approve the bill it will become a law due to take effect in November 2012.

Reckless driving is already a traffic violation, defined as driving in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the proper use of a public road or endangers those using the road, without listing specific examples of behavior that fits this definition. Changing this offense from an unclassified misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor would allow prosecutors to ask for a maximum one-year sentence, rather than the current 30-day maximum.

The new category of offense, aggravated reckless driving, includes the following specific actions:

  • Driving in a way that creates grave risk of death
  • Driving the wrong way, either on purpose or while intoxicated
  • Speeding by 30 mph above the limit while intoxicated or impaired, while racing or while weaving in and out of traffic

Senate spokesmen expressed special concern about dealing with wrong-way drivers. In November 2010 a police officer was killed on the Northern State Parkway by a driver traveling the wrong way while allegedly intoxicated. Since then, almost 30 wrong way crashes and arrests have been tallied on Long Island and in other parts of the state. The rate has recently stepped up, with 18 Long Island wrong-way driving incidents documented in just the past three months, most involving intoxicated or impaired drivers.

Prosecutors welcome the prospect of having more teeth in the law with which to go after offenders. They will be able to prosecute aggravated reckless driving offenders as Class E felons who can receive up to four years in prison.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Our Main Office Location:

James M. Wagman, Attorney at Law| 11 Williams Street| Catskill, NY 12414 | Phone: 518-291-4803 | Toll Free: 866-901-8742 | Fax: 518-943-9186 | Catskill Law Office Map

Credit Cards Accepted

  • American Express
  • DiscoverCard
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Back to Top