Oregon Reckless Driving Laws

Reckless driving is one of the most frequently charged traffic offenses in Oregon. Unfortunately, this type of driving behavior is not uncommon, and it can lead to devastating consequences for those on the roadway. Not only will the person charged with reckless driving face serious consequences, including possible jail time, but crash victims could face severe or life-threatening injuries. Here, we want to discuss the reckless driving laws in Oregon as well as some of the consequences of this type of driving behavior.

What the laws say about reckless driving

Under Oregon Revised Statutes 811.140, we can see that a person commits the offense of reckless driving if they recklessly operate a vehicle on a highway or other premises in a manner that endangers the safety of other people or property. Specifically, the term “reckless” used in this law is further defined in ORS 161.085(9) as:

“Recklessly, when used with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, means that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

A person could face a Class A misdemeanor offense if they are charged with reckless driving in Oregon. This could lead to up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $6,250, and a period of supervision or probation up to five years.

There are various ways that a person may be charged with reckless driving in Oregon. This can include:

  • Speeding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • A child in the vehicle at the time a person is allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Erratic driving behavior that is thought to have occurred while the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Being involved in an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Getting arrested for DUI with a very high blood alcohol content
  • Organizing or participating in a street racing event

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the ways that a person could be charged with reckless driving. Law enforcement professionals have significant leeway when determining when to charge a person with this offense

Reckless driving can lead to severe injuries

Reckless driving often results in severe accidents. Because these incidents regularly happen at high speeds, it is not uncommon for victims in these cases to have sustained the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Crush injuries
  • Other severe neck and back injuries

Victims of accidents caused by reckless driving may be entitled to significant compensation for what happened. This could include full coverage of their medical bills, lost income if they cannot work, pain and suffering damages, property damage expenses, and more.

Determining liability in these cases can be difficult, and it is strongly recommended that victims work with a trusted personal injury attorney in order to help ensure they receive maximum compensation for their claim. An attorney can use their resources to conduct a full investigation into the case by gathering all evidence needed to prove liability. A Portland car accident attorney can also work with trusted medical professionals to help calculate their client’s total expenses and negotiate with all parties to receive fair compensation.