The Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project (PAADEEP) is a program that was implemented to address the problem of aggressive driving. Participants include the Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, and the agencies of local law enforcement.
Aggressive driving is behavior such as tailgating a driver, excessively changing lanes, and yelling or inappropriately gesturing at other motorists. When taken to extremes, acts of aggressive driving are reckless and dangerous.
Reckless Driving (§3736)
The statutory definition of reckless driving is when someone operates a vehicle in a manner that has no regard for public safety. These are actions that are “willful and wanton” that are likely to result in injuries or property losses. Those who commit the offense are charged with a summary offense that results in a $200 fine.
Compared to adjacent states, Pennsylvania has somewhat lenient laws regarding distracted driving. New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Maryland all have laws that require drivers to keep their “hands-free.” Pennsylvania does prohibit sending or receiving text messages but the fines potentially imposed are minimal. New Jersey recently enacted laws that impose a $400 fine for distracted driving and a second offense will result in a $600 penalty.
Careless Driving (§3714)
Careless driving is committed when a driver operates without regard for the safety of other people or property. These offenses are also considered as summary offenses; however, fines may be enhanced based on the circumstances. When the carelessness results in serious bodily harm the fine maybe $250. If the driver unintentionally causes a fatality the fine may be raised to $500.
Aggravated Assault by Vehicle (§3732.1)
Acts such as reckless driving can result in more serious criminal charges. Aggravated assault by vehicle is committed when a driver operates “recklessly or with gross negligence” that leads to significant bodily injury. It may be charged as a third-degree felony offense. Pennsylvania courts have explained that gross negligence exceeds “ordinary carelessness, inadvertence, laxity, or indifference.”
Acts of gross negligence are blatant and deviate significantly from ordinary standards. The following guidelines may apply:
- In addition to other penalties, the court may impose a sentence of two years of incarceration if the accident occurred in a construction zone or other “work zone.”
- This sentence may also be imposed when the driver is operating without a valid driver's license, was text messaging, or failed to use caution when approaching an emergency vehicle.
- When a prosecutor intends to prove that gross negligence was involved they must initially disclose it when the case begins.
A third-degree felony offense is punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000. Those facing felony-level charges are always encouraged to promptly seek experienced defense counsel.
Aggressive Legal Representation for Allegations of Reckless Driving
Have you been charged with reckless driving or another serious traffic offense? Those who are prosecuting these cases are increasingly imposing more severe penalties, particularly when the crash resulted in injury. You are encouraged to contact the Lento Law Firm for a case evaluation at (888) 535-3686 today.