Definitions differ by state for vehicular negligence. Vehicular negligence can be used to describe many difference situations. The victim of vehicular negligence can be the operator or passenger of an automobile, truck, SUV, motorcycle, moped or bicycle. This is due to when a collision occurs there is normally one party that is negligent and at fault.

In some state vehicular negligence may just be the termed used for when a driver is negligent in any way and causing an accident or harm with their vehicle. This then would include minor incidents arising from something like running a stop sign or something serious such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to Louisiana driving law, vehicle negligent injury is when an injury is inflicted on someone by an operator of any motor vehicle, aircraft, water-craft, or other means of conveyance when the offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.

In New York liability for negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle may include:

  1. Speeding under New York Vehicle and Traffic (VAT) Law 1180 requires that a driver proceed at a reasonable speed under the conditions existing. VAT 1180(a) establishes 55 or 65 m.p.h. as the maximum speed limit;
  2. Driving Too Slowly – VAT 1181(a) provides that driving at such slow speed as to impede normal traffic is prohibited, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law. VAT 1181(b) provides that whenever a minimum speed limit has been established on a highway, a vehicle must not be driven at a speed below such limit, except when entering upon or exiting from the highway, when preparing to stop, or when necessary for safe operation. VAT law section 1120 provides that any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the extreme right lane or as close to the right curb as practicable, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or into a private drive;
  3. Turning – VAT 1160 requires that all turns made by a vehicle at an intersection must be made from a position that is appropriate to the direction of the turn to be made. No turn may be made in any direction unless and until the turn can be made with reasonable safety. For vehicles intending to turn at an intersection, VAT 1160(a) provides that the approach for a right turn and the right turn are required to be made as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. VAT 1163 mandates that no driver can turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway before ascertaining that such movement can be made with reasonable safety, and without giving an appropriate signal. The turn signal must be given continuously during no less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before
  4. Starting and stopping – VAT 1162 states that a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked may not be moved unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety; and,
  5. Failing to Signal – Failing to signal is negligence. Vat 1165 provides that signals may be given by hand, or mechanically. VAT 1163(b) requires that a signal of intention to turn right or left when required must be given continuously during at least the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

There may be other more serious forms of negligence but this gives you an idea of how making an improper turn, failing to signal, etc can be construed in some states such as NY as negligence by a driver. Negligence is in general defined as the failure to exercise the care that is expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances so vehicular negligence can be doing such in a vehicle such as a car, truck or motorcycle.

To find out about your state’s definition for vehicular negligence and if it this is an offense you can be charged with or just a way to find you at fault for an accident, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher

Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former editorial director. Prior to joining, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.