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What are the differences between aggressive and reckless driving?

Navigating roadways in Arizona requires more than just knowing how to drive. It demands a clear understanding of the state’s traffic laws and the possible consequences of violating them.

Two terms often mixed up, yet have distinct legal definitions, are aggressive driving and reckless driving. If you are facing a traffic violation, how can knowing the difference between aggressive and reckless driving help you deal with your alleged offense?

What is aggressive driving?

According to Arizona law, aggressive driving involves a series of acts during a single driving period that exceeds the posted speed limit. Further, the series of acts must endanger other people or property and should involve two of the following:

  • Disobeying traffic control signs or signals
  • Overtaking and passing another vehicle on the right side
  • Unsafe lane change
  • Following a vehicle too closely
  • Failure to yield to emergency vehicles

Moreover, a conviction of aggressive driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. This makes it a more severe offense compared to reckless driving.

How is reckless driving defined?

On the other hand, a reckless driving conviction is a class 2 misdemeanor. It occurs when someone drives with reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. This can include racing or performing stunts on public roads.

Differences in intent and severity of actions

The main difference between aggressive and reckless driving lies in the intent and severity of the actions. Aggressive driving involves a series of traffic offenses committed with disregard for safety, with a higher level of intent and severity than reckless driving. Meanwhile, reckless driving involves a conscious disregard for the potential consequences of one’s actions, but it is still less severe under Arizona law.

Defending against a traffic offense

Knowing the difference between aggressive and reckless driving is crucial for all drivers. With legal support, you may receive guidance in facing your traffic violation so that you can defend yourself with more courage and confidence.