Is Brake Checking Illegal in Virginia?

Sep 28, 2022 | Auto Accidents

Car back tailing in highway

Yes, brake checking is illegal in Virginia and can come with a reckless driving charge. A reckless driving charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, which is punishable with a $2,500 fine, possible license suspension, a chance of jail time, and serious increases in a driver’s insurance premiums. Drivers would also have this misdemeanor on their record permanently. Read on to learn more about Virginia brake checking and the associated car accident risks. 

What Is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is the act of braking hard when a vehicle is behind you. The goal of brake checking is to get the vehicle behind you to also brake hard or swerve to avoid an accident with you. 

Most people who engage in brake checking believe that the car behind them will bear the burden of the accident since they were following too closely. The practice is extremely dangerous, and there is no guarantee that the other driver will face an infraction for the accident or that you’ll be blameless in the accident.

One reason why people engage in brake checking is because they are enraged by how other drivers are using the roadway, most often because the car behind them is tailgating them. 

Another reason why drivers brake check others is to seek an insurance payout referred to as “crash for cash.” But as stated above, this doesn’t always turn out the way the brake-checking driver is expecting, which can lead to large repair and medical bills.

Reckless Driving Examples

Now that you know what brake checking is, learn more about what reckless driving is and why brake checking often falls under this category for traffic infractions.

  • Speeding (specifically anything over 80 mph)
  • Tailgating
  • Any sort of abrupt braking, including brake checking
  • Distracted driving, such as texting or eating
  • Illegal lane changes
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to turn on headlights at night or not using a turn signal
  • Failing to observe a stop sign or traffic light
  • Racing other motorists
  • Swerving in and out of lanes
  • Ignoring railroad barriers
  • Passing a school bus when its stop sign is out

 

All these infractions are examples of traffic infractions in which motorists can suffer severe injuries that are completely preventable had the driver followed posted speed limits and driven with care the way they should have.

Common Brake Checking Injuries

Injuries from brake checking can be minor to severe, it all depends on how bad the ensuing accident is and the speed at which the cars had been traveling before the abrupt braking. Some common brake check injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severe sprains

 

Who Is Liable for the Ensuing Accident?

In a brake checking accident, who is liable for the ensuing damage? In some cases, law enforcement might find both parties partially at fault. The driver that did the brake checking could be guilty of reckless driving for slamming on the brakes without a good reason to do so. But the vehicle that rear-ended the reckless driver could also be somewhat at fault for following too closely. 

In some circumstances, witness accounts will make it clear that the brake-checking driver was the only one at fault. That’s because some drivers experiencing road rage will speed up to pass another driver and immediately brake to cause an accident. In that case, the rear-ending vehicle could not do anything about the situation to prevent the accident.

Reach Out for a Free Consultation 

You can never assume who is at fault for a car accident. Collecting evidence and presenting your case is important to protecting your rights. Regardless of whether you are the one charged with brake checking or were the victim of another driver who engaged in brake checking, you should schedule a free consultation with Geoff McDonald & Associates to discuss your rights.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.

FREE CONSULTATION

No Fees Unless We Win





    What Should I Do Immediately After a Virginia Truck Accident?

    The steps you should take immediately after a Virginia truck accident mirror those that you would take if you were in a standard car accident. But you should follow the steps carefully, as failure to do so could impact your ability to seek compensation for your...

    What You Should Ask for After an Accident with a Truck

    Navigating truck accidents is complicated because so many different parties could be involved in the accident, including: Truck driver Employer Mechanic Parts manufacturer Shipper   In some cases, you’ll be making a claim with the truck driver’s employer. If the...

    A Tractor Trailer Hit Me. Do I Need a Lawyer?

    If a tractor-trailer hit you, retaining a lawyer as soon as possible is the best course of action. This is not your classic car accident where you file a claim with the insurance company. Truck drivers often work for large trucking companies. Those companies have...

    Can I Sue a Truck Driver’s Company for My Injuries?

    Whether you can sue a truck driver’s company for your injuries will vary based on whether the driver is an independent contractor or a regular employee of the company. If the driver is an independent contractor, you’ll need to work with the driver’s...

    Can I Appeal and Overturn a Denied Car Wreck Insurance Claim in Virginia?

    Yes, you can appeal and overturn a denied car wreck insurance claim in Virginia, but you’ll need a lawyer. Once you’ve reached this point, you’ve done what you can on your own.  You submitted all necessary information and yet still haven’t received compensation for...

    Our Case Results

    $4,700,000
    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    $1,750,000
    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    $1,250,000
    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    $860,000
    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    $700,000
    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald