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What is Reckless/Careless Operation?


In Louisiana, the state law on reckless driving says that "any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roadways should drive cautiously and judiciously not to risk any person's life, limb, or property." The law also says that "failure to drive in this way shall be reckless operation."

Swerving between traffic lanes or crashing into another car because you didn't slow down in time is considered reckless driving. As a result of a traffic collision, police may issue you a reckless operation ticket.


What Are the Consequences of Reckless/Careless Driving?

Although the punishments for driving carelessly vary parish to parish, most parishes have relatively high fines. The penalty for a careless driving violation in New Orleans is $252.50. Near Lake Pontchartrain in Slidell, the penalty is $367.50. It will also negatively affect your driving record and raise your insurance premiums.


How Does Louisiana Define "Careless" And "Reckless" Driving Behavior?

A ticket for reckless operation differs significantly from a citation for careless operation. The law of Louisiana defines "criminally negligent or reckless" operation as the "operation of any motor vehicle, airplane, vessel, or other means of transportation."

  • What distinguishes careless driving from reckless driving is whether or not a motorist was being purposely reckless and driving in a manner that they knew could risk the lives of others.

  • First-time offenders in Louisiana face steep fines and/or prison sentences of up to ninety days for a reckless operating charge.

  • In Louisiana, reckless driving is a minor penalty.

  • If you get a careless driving ticket in New Orleans, you must appear in court. Paying the fee isn't an option.

You may be able to have the ticket lowered to a non-moving infraction or have it dropped entirely if you hire an expert traffic lawyer.

Sound Off

What is an example of reckless/careless operation that you have witnessed or heard of in the news? Let us know in the comments!


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