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What Is Reckless Driving?

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Reckless driving is far more serious than most people are aware. Unlike careless and improper driving, reckless driving is a criminal offence. In addition to demerit points on your license and hefty fines, reckless driving can also lead to loss in license and even jail time. 

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For fleets, a reckless driving charge has greater implications on business.

The first step to prevent that from happening is to ensure you and your drivers fully understand what reckless driving is. Then there are ongoing measures you can take to identify unsafe driver behaviours and provide tailored training to correct those behaviours.

What is reckless driving

While the definition of reckless driving varies by state and local regulation, it is considered a conscious or intentional indifference to the rules of the road and operation of a vehicle, with knowledge that damage could be done.

A driver normally must demonstrate something more than mere negligence in the operation of a vehicle to be cited. However, they can be cited even if no accident or property damage occurred.

There are many behaviours and over a dozen specific violations that can be deemed reckless:

  • Excessive speeding (25 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit) 
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Intentionally failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians
  • Driving under the influence/while intoxicated
  • Racing other vehicles
  • Evading law enforcement
  • Passing on a two-lane highway over a double line
  • Passing public transport such as trams or buses
  • Texting while driving 

Preventing reckless driving in your fleet

Monitoring driver safety is key to preventing reckless driving. Telematics and GPS fleet tracking provides real-time and real-world insight into how drivers behave on the road. It reports on speeding, harsh braking, aggressive acceleration and sharp or erratic cornering – all behaviours that indicate reckless driving.

With telematics solutions, fleet managers can also set safe driving rules and create automated alerts – for themselves and drivers – if rules are broken or at-risk of being broken.

Fleet managers can use this data to get a benchmark of fleetwide performance and identify which risky behaviours their fleet displays most often. From there they can set KPIs on safe driving and build an ongoing program to measure progress, provide training, incentivise safety and penalise dangerous behaviours.

They should also look at the individual driver level to identify who is most at-risk of reckless driving and create personalised improvements plans.

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Providing a tailored training program to prevent reckless driving

Performance data is a powerful first step for preventing reckless driving. However, ongoing feedback and in-person coaching is critical. Safe driving is not just a skill; it’s a behaviour and mindset and must be continually nurtured.

Driving scorecards are a good basis for one-on-one coaching. They rank all drivers in a fleet on specific safety criteria but also track an individual's performance against himself or herself over time.

Pairing that driver data with event replays and footage from dashboard cameras strengthens coaching even further. Visually showing and coaching on real-world examples and incidents can be far more impactful in improving driver safety than general, theoretical behaviours.

Reckless driving is a big issue which could lead to increased insurance costs and a driver potentially losing his or her livelihood. It could end in loss of life. That’s why ongoing monitoring and training to prevent and correct reckless driving is critical to any fleet’s operations.