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How the State of Minnesota Defines Reckless, Careless, and Exhibition Driving

November 09, 2021

An article published on discusses the differences between Reckless, Careless, and Exhibition Driving in Minnesota.  

According to Minnesota law cited in the article, the primary difference between careless driving and reckless driving is that reckless driving is an intentional act, or the motor vehicle driver should have understood that the dangerous driving behavior might kill or injure someone else.

"Reckless Driving" occurs when a motorist knows that their dangerous driving behavior could harm another person or their property.  In Minnesota, reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal charge unless an accident occurs.  If death or great bodily harm occurs, the criminal charge may become a "gross misdemeanor reckless driving" criminal charge.  In Minnesota, racing is a type of reckless driving, even if the vehicles observe the speed limit. 

"Careless Driving" occurs when a driver irresponsibly operates or stops a motor vehicle on a street or highway in a way that ignores the rights of others, endangers others or their property, or is expected to endanger a person or a person's property.  Careless driving also includes risking injury or property damage to their passengers or themselves.  Careless driving is a misdemeanor criminal charge in Minnesota. 

"Exhibition Driving" is typically a violation of a city ordinance.  In other words, there is no exhibition driving law in Minnesota.  However, each community may pass an ordinance that describes the offense and then defines the punishments for breaking the ordinance.

The article cites the language of a typical city ordinance that defines exhibition driving.  The example includes behaviors such as unreasonable acceleration, the squealing of the tires, or the throwing of gravel or sand by a vehicle's tires. 

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.