What is Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle?
Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle is the criminal act under Massachusetts law of driving a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the life or safety of others. It is not required that one operates in a reckless manner to be charged with Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. Negligence is less serious than reckless. To charge Negligent Operation, four discrete elements are required: (1) operation (2) of a motor vehicle (3) on a public way (4) in a negligent manner.
Operation relates to the mechanical operation of a motor vehicle. Any motor vehicle will suffice for Negligent Operation. This includes automobiles, commercial vehicles, construction vehicles and/or equipment, motorcycles, mopeds, and any other motorized vehicle capable of being operated by an individual. It is similarly illegal to operate a motorized boat while under the influence of alcohol. The vehicle in question must be operated on a public way including streets, roads, parking lots, highways, trails and other areas to which the public has access.
Negligence describes the manner of operation required for this offense. One is negligent by operating in a manner that might have endangered the lives or safety of others. A person acts negligently by failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would act under the same or similar circumstances. This can happen in one of two ways: (1) doing something that a reasonably prudent person would not do under the circumstances or (2) failing to do something that a reasonably prudent person would do. A motorist operates negligently by driving in a manner that a reasonable person would not have, and by doing so created an unnecessary danger or harm to other people, which could have been avoided had he or she operated more safely.
One may be charged with Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the absence of either an accident or actual physical injury. None are required to consummate this offense. One may similarly be charged regardless of traffic conditions. For instance, one who operates recklessly on a roadway where there are no other motorists may be charged.
Factors for evaluating negligence include, but are not limited to the motorist’s speed and manner of operation; physical condition and ability to both see and could control his vehicle. Other considerations include the mechanical and physical condition of the vehicle, the type of roadway where the operation occurred; who else was on the road with the motorist; the time of day; and both weather and road conditions. These are the same factors used to evaluate recklessness for Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle. However, reckless is not required for Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. Negligence is a more relaxed or less severe than recklessness.
Being charged with Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle may have serious consequences to your license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle. This type of charge also has the potential to impact the cost of your automobile insurance and potential to receive continued coverage from your insurance carrier. Finally, it may also impact the status of commercial driver’s licenses.
If you have been charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and need expert legal representation, contact the MA defense attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.