In United States law, reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. It is usually a more serious offense than careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention and is often punishable by fines, imprisonment, or driver's license suspension or revocation. (List specific to the USA.)
Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver misjudges common driving procedures, often causing wrecks, accidents and other damages. Reckless driving has been studied by psychologists who found that reckless drivers score high in risk-taking personality traits. However, no one cause can be assigned to this state.
There are some states, such as Virginia, where mental state is not considered, but rather a set of more than a dozen specific violations can be deemed reckless. Excessive speed by itself is sufficient for a reckless driving conviction in some jurisdictions (e.g., Virginia). Because of the seriousness of the charge (excepting Virginia's definitions) reckless driving may be equated to DUI by rental agencies and preclude the offender from renting a car for several years after the conviction.
In Virginia, reckless driving is considered a class one misdemeanor. As such, the penalties can include the following: a maximum of one year in jail, a six-month loss of license, six demerit points, and a fine of up to $2,500.