Careless Driving or Vehicular Assault?

What is the Difference Between Careless Driving Causing Injury and Vehicular Assault?

Careless driving is a traffic misdemeanor.  Whether there are serious injuries or a death as a result of the careless driving determines the possible penalties, but ultimately, even when a death is involved, it is a traffic misdemeanor.  Vehicular assault is a felony.  Vehicular assault is committed when a person is driving recklessly or under the influence  and causes an injury to another person.  Vehicular homicide is also a felony.  Felonies are punishable by prison time, but a person may also receive probation.

Truck Driver Facing Charges in Accident Injuring Tracy Morgan

Early Saturday morning, Tracy Morgan, an actor and comedian known for his work on Saturday Night Live, was returning from a tour date in Delaware.  While on the New Jersey turnpike, there was a multiple car accident that put Tracy Morgan in intensive care.  The driver of the tractor trailer has been charged.  The driver is alleged to have failed to see slowung traffic and swerved in an attempt to avoid an accident.  Unfortunately, when he swerved, he hit Morgan’s van.  The driver is charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

New Jersey Law v. Colorado Law

Colorado does not have any crime or traffic violation called death or assault by auto.  However, it does sound as though the driver was charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.  There has been no information released to suggest that the truck driver was DUI at the time of the accident, so the driver’s actions may have appeared reckless to the police.  “Reckless” is defined as a willful and wanton disregard.  In comparison, “careless” just requires a showing that the driver did not drive with due regard for the width, grade, curves and all other attendant circumstances, such as slowing traffic.