Operating Negligently so as to Endanger

Operating Negligently so as to Endanger

Operating a vehicle negligently so as to endanger is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24(2)(a). This offense entails the following three elements:

  1. The defendant operated a vehicle.

  2. The defendant did so on a public way, in a place where the public has a right of access, or in a place where members of the public have access as licensees or invitees.

  3. The defendant operated the vehicle negligently so as to endanger the lives or safety of the public. Acting “negligently” means failing to exercise due care. Using due care means doing what a reasonably prudent person would do (or refrain from doing). Factors to be considered in determining whether the defendant was operating negligently include: speed, the defendant’s physical condition and the condition of the vehicle, weather and driving conditions, the type of road, sudden emergency that requires quick decision–making, the nature and extent of injuries to an alleged victim, and what pedestrians and other cars were doing. The standard is an objective one, and the defendant’s subjective intent does not matter. This element can be established even where no accident results and even if no people were nearby to be endangered. The question is whether the defendant’s driving had the potential to endanger any person who might have been on the street or road. The fact that an accident did result, by itself, isn’t enough. If another vehicle is involved and there is evidence that the other driver was negligent or intoxicated, then the role of that negligence or intoxication may be considered. A defendant cannot be guilty of this crime if the other driver’s negligence or intoxication was the sole cause of the result and the defendant was not negligent.


Operating negligently to endanger is punishable by a fine of at least $20 and up $200 or by imprisonment for at least 2 weeks and up to 2 years, or both.

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Lawyer: (617) 973 5858

Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. is an experienced and highly–qualified Massachusetts motor vehicle crimes attorney. Without a doubt, he provides the best quality criminal defense that Massachusetts has to offer. He has been doing so for 30 years. To speak with Attorney Wheeler, call the Law Offices of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at 617–973–5858 or send him an e–mail today. It is the only way to fully understand your options and rights. You can reach the office 24/7.