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3.7-1  Statutory Negligence - Reckless Driving

Revised to January 1, 2008

We have a statute that provides that no person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway of the state recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway, the intersection of streets and the weather conditions.  A person operates a motor vehicle recklessly when that person does so knowing or having reason to know of facts that create a high degree of risk of physical harm to another and deliberately proceeds to act in conscious disregard of, or with indifference to, that risk.  A person may also operate a motor vehicle recklessly when that person does so knowing or having reason to know of facts that create a high degree of risk, although a reasonable person in the same circumstances would realize or appreciate that risk. 

In addition to this general definition of reckless driving, the statute further describes two specific forms of reckless operation of a motor vehicle that constitute reckless driving as a matter of law.  The first is the operation of a motor vehicle upon any public highway at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person other than the operator of the motor vehicle.  The second is the operation of a motor vehicle upon any public highway at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour. 

If you find that the defendant violated the reckless driving statute in any of the ways I have defined for you, then the defendant was negligent.

Authority

General Statutes § 14-222 (a); Matthiessen v. Vanech, 266 Conn. 822, 832-33 (2003); 2 Restatement (Second), Torts § 500 comment (a) (1965).  Recklessness may be inferred from the act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  Seymour v. Carcia, 24 Conn. App. 446, 452 (1991), aff'd, 221 Conn. 473 (1992).  Public highways are used for illustrative purposes.

Notes

The statute applies to a number of other areas as well.  The instruction need not necessarily be given in its entirety.  The portion that is to be read will depend upon the evidence.
 


 

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