When negligent driving turns deadly

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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The term “negligent driver” can sound innocuous, as harmless as going a mile over the speed limit or parking an inch too close to the curb, but negligent driving can have serious consequences. Per a table on the CA.gov DMV portal, negligent driving in the state of California can encompass an extensive list of acts with varying ranges of severity, and are graded on a point system to determine the action taken against the driver on first and repeated offenses.

This table lists the codes when making cases for negligent operator charges, in which the “negligent operator” is the motor vehicle driver determined to be at fault in a collision. Collisions involving severe bodily harm or death, with or without a DUI, carry a higher weight in this point system and can lead to harsher penalties, the least of which is a fine and the worst of which can progress from license revocation to jail time for wrongful death.

One catastrophic example of negligent driving resulting in death occurred when six people, including the driver at fault, were killed in a head-on collision on a highway in Northern California. According to The Mercury News, a single driver in a Chevrolet crashed headlong into a Dodge carrying five passengers. The driver of the Chevrolet was driving the wrong way down the highway, resulting in the head-on collision. The accident killed all six persons involved and led to both vehicles catching fire.

At this point in time an investigation is currently underway into whether or not the driver of the Chevrolet was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but nonetheless this stands as a case where driver negligence led to deaths in a motor vehicle accident.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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