By on January 27, 2015

Virginia Welcomes You To Get Nailed Like A Pedo For Speeding

Those driving in or through Virginia will have to keep it under 80 for now, as the bill to raise the commonwealth’s threshold for reckless driving is dead.

Jalopnik reports the bill, authored by Delegate Jeff Campbell of the 6th District, would have raised the limit to 85 mph, after which one could be charged with a Class One misdemeanor, lose their license for six months, pay a $2,500 fine, and spend up to a year in jail; other Class Ones in Virginia include sexual battery and animal cruelty.

A legislative assistant for Del. Campbell said the bill was tabled by the criminal law subcommittee in the Virginia General Assembly Monday, all but declaring it “essentially dead for the remainder of the legislative session,” set to adjourn February 28, with a reconvened session to take place beginning April 15.

No clear reasons for tabling the bill were given, though it would have expected opposition from law enforcement and insurance companies.

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51 Comments on “Virginia Assembly Bill To Raise Reckless Driving Threshold Tabled...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As with many things… it depends.

    Such a bill doesn’t seem worthy of much deliberation by the Assembly; nobody would be happy with the result, anyway. I’m sure there is already latitude for discretion in its enforcement.

    Five years ago, I received a reckless driving ticket here in PA for merely squealing the tires a little while turning left through an intersection – $150 and 2 points on my license. My 9-year-old in the back seat (whose presence certainly inspired the cop to ticket me) declared, “Dad, it’s a good thing we have the police around to protect us”.

    I paid the ticket – guilty as charged.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Reckless driving = DUI. Did you try to rent a car in the 3 years following the ticket? The reckless statue in Va is a travesty. People can and do get jail time for 81 in a 70.

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      As a former resident of PA, I can tell you that you most certainly didn’t get reckless driving – that’s a much bigger fine and number of points on your license. You got careless driving, which is a minor catchall offense in PA.

      On the topic at hand, I tell everyone I know to avoid driving in VA. They give out reckless driving like candy in VA – the automatic reckless driving citation for doing 81 in a 70 is only the most egregious example – and it’s a damned Class One misdemeanor there, which makes it a real criminal offense that can completely screw your career. Driving in VA isn’t worth the risk. I got cited once for it when I was working there, and you better bet I hired a lawyer to make it go away.

      Meanwhile, in so-called nanny state California, my current home, 81 in a 70 won’t even get you pulled over.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      The limit on many interstates in Virginia is 70. Traffic rarely moves at less than 75. By definition, ANYTHING over 80 is reckless…even on an interstate where that’s a reasonable speed according to the flow of traffic. It’s a ridiculous law.

      The way it works is people get pulled over for reckless, but if the trooper doesn’t hate your guts he/she cuts you a “break” by not writing you for the reckless charge.

      Virginia is stupid about speed enforcement and has been since I can remember…and I’ve been in Virginia for most of my life.

      If you folks could see how things often work on the other side of the blue line you’d be appalled. Revenue generation and other unforgivable political BS is often covered in a “public safety” or “officer safety” wrapper that doesn’t pass the smell test…and the Virginia State Police as an organization is an enthusiastic participant in that kind of nonsense at times.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      Only 2 points and $150 for reckless driving? Are you sure it wasn’t improper driving ticket?

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      The speed limit on many VA interstates is 70. So 11 MPH over the speed limit gets you Reckless driving and more importantly a Public Endangerment criminal charge to go with it. They automatically give them out, no discretion. Need to get a lawyer to get out if it at great expanse. Is money maker. Brother in Law got one, didn’t get a lawyer, lost his security clearance and hence job. Was going 86MPH. If he was going 56MPH in a 40 it would have been a 2 point ticket. I could understand 80 in a 55 being reckless, but 11 over is a bit steep.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    “No clear reasons for tabling the bill were given, though it would have expected opposition from law enforcement and insurance companies.”

    And the lawyers who make their coin on these incidents.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Lawyers do not make much coin on speed citations. The state and localities make the bank on them.

      …and don’t get me started on nonsense like “click-it-or-ticket” where federal funds are used to pay overtime for state and local police officers to go out and write a bunch of tickets.

  • avatar
    210delray

    As a Virginia resident, I say good (donning flame suit).

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Orange

      Let me guess. You would prefer everyone stay out.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      As a Virginia resident, I firmly disagree with your sentiment.

      The speed limits on all roads in VA need to reassessed by an outside 3rd party. You cannot tell me that the portion of 28 that runs along Dulles airport – which is as straight as the runway and almost completely flat for miles – needs to have a speed limit of 55. Give me a reason for it other than revenue generation.

      I was working in NJ for hurricane relief. Everywhere I drove I’d see a speed limit sign and look down to see I was naturally going that speed without needing to be told. I was driving for the speed of the road.
      In VA, if you drive the speed you think the road was built for you are probably going 15 mph over the posted limit.

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        You have to be joking about New Jersey. I travel through there frequently on the way to NYC.

        This state slaps 45 mph “work zone” limits for miles on end, whether or not there’s any work going on. Also laughable are the 45 mph limits on the longer freeway bridges, like the 16(?)-lane Garden State Parkway bridge over the Raritan River near Perth Amboy.

        Just try going 45 when everyone else is pushing 65 mph or much higher!

        Plus VA has lots of 70-mph limits, whereas the top speed in Jersey is 65.

        I can see why Route 28 near Dulles has a 55-mph limit: it’s heavily traveled and in an urban area (practically speaking). I understand your frustration with the limit, though, just like the same limit is a joke on the entire DC Beltway.

        On the latter, I go 62-65 mph in the 2nd lane from the right and generally am not bothered by other drivers and certainly not the cops.

        In my experience, the king of low-speed limit states is my native PA — 55 mph on rural interstates 70 near Breezewood and 79 near Pittsburgh. The residential road where I grew up on had a 35-mph limit for decades; then someone got the bright idea about 15 or so years ago to lower it to 25, even as traffic volume decreased.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The speed limit is lower on I-70 in Pennsylvania because several parts of it are not yet up to interstate highway standards in design and construction.

          For what it’s worth, we recently raised the speed limit to 70 mph on portions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (despite the wailing by the usual suspects).

          Now most drivers are only 5 mph over the limit, as opposed to 10 mph over the limit.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I’ve one of those OBD dongles that chirps at 70mph.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If I recall correctly, one reason that Virginia has such absurd traffic laws is because one of the legislators happens to operate a legal practice as a traffic law attorney. Call me crazy, but that would seem to be a bit of a conflict of interest.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      My memory was correct. Meet David Albo, Republican member of the Virginia state House of Representatives and traffic law attorney. You can thank him for Virginia’s outrageously high fines:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/22/AR2007062201781.html

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        Agree on Albo. He was the one that pushed through those extra-punitive fines on so-called “bad drivers” to help fund needed revenue for road building and repair. Those fines were rescinded within half a year or so, if I remember correctly, because of the huge outcry.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I’m tired of these shenanigans, regardless of whether the member who pushes for it puts an “R” or a “D” after his or her name. He needs to be called out on this.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It’s hilarious — on Albo’s law firm website, it highlights reckless driving defense as one of its practice areas. How shameless can these people be?

          And you’re right. In this case, they all belong to the Green Party (as in the greenbacks in our wallets.)

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            So he pushed for these laws to improve “safety,” but now he’ll take your money to help you avoid the sanctions he helped enact into law.

            Even my five-year-old doesn’t have that level of chutzpah.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Yup, welcome to my state, where driving 80 MPH carries the same weight as sexual assault!

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19850819&id=bPtNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jYsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5038,2846315

    That was my mom, rest her soul. Maybe if she had told the cops he was a habitual speeder, she’d still be around…

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      EXACTAMUNDO.

      It’s an utterly absurd setup. There are plenty of states with higher speed limits without this ridiculous automatic reckless driving law who don’t have blood in the streets as a result. And they have radar detectors without a bunch of dead people, too…but in Virginia they’re illegal. And we also have state-run Alcoholic Beverage Control stores that sell hard liquor complete with an enforcement arm that whips out guns on a coed in a grocery store parking lot:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/03/28/uva-student-assaulted-by-state-alcohol-control-officers-files-lawsuit/

      This has *everything* to do with revenue and an absurd almost puritanical NIMBY mindset that infects this place like bad VD. Given how dirty the history of Virginia politics is (look up the influence the Byrd family has had in Virginia, for instance) it’s not a surprise that rational policies don’t stand a snowball’s chance many times.

      To get anything done requires careful organizing and effective lobbying, and if there aren’t people showing up in the legislators’ office politely getting in their face about it then it isn’t likely to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Don’t forget that police forces of many of the Hampton Roads cities are among the most upset (want to use a different word but don’t want spambot to filter my whole comment), most upset about civil forfeiture coming to an end.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yikes – that’s a heavy burden to carry, even after all these years. My sympathies.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m so sorry…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Heavy, and I know stuff like that never gets easier. My sincere sympathies.

    • 0 avatar

      You have my condolences. *big hugs*

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    #1 reason I’ll never again live or locate a business in this stupid state. What sort of a-holes think $1000 speeding tickets are reasonable? Or misdemeanors for 11 over? Vote with your feet, people.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I live on the other side of DC from Virginia, and if you’re looking to live/work in the greater DC area Maryland has its own bunch of issues too. Most notable are the higher taxes and extremely restrictive gun laws.

      • 0 avatar
        Illan

        here is a Good read on what happens if the cop sasy you were reckless driving on virginia http://jalopnik.com/never-speed-in-virginia-lessons-from-my-three-days-in-1613604053

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Simply getting off your @$$ and _yoting_ will have an effect too…

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Yeah, thats not gonna happen. There is a bat-guano crazy conservative element here mostly made up of ex-military guys pissed off the state isn’t run like a prison on lockdown.

      Not to mention a bunch of little podunk towns that would go broke if sensible driving laws were introduced.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      If this was a democracy, we wouldn’t have speed cameras anywhere either. When the legislature refuses to correct the issue, there’s not much left to do.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I think we have more to fear from those cameras alongs!de the roads that take a picture of the occupants of the car and record the license plate.

        At first those set-ups were only found near Border Patrol stations. But recently I have seen them at intersections, on-ramps, off-ramps, underneath overpasses and even on tall buildings.

        The DEA has admitted to using them but now local law enforcement is also starting to use them under the guise of crime prevention.

  • avatar

    I was going 82 in a 70. Be sure to brake heavily when going downhill. The common way out of a criminal record in Virginia is to hire a local lawyer to plead “faulty equipment” for you and have you pay some fines and attend 8 hours of class. I think faulty equipment means my speedometer was inaccurate. So they basically encourage people to lie and give them money.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Back in the drive 55 to stay alive days I got popped for 81 in a 55 in Virginia. Was on I-81 in the middle of no where, flat, open stretch of highway, daylight, summer, light traffic. The cop was a tool.

    I was flabbergasted even though I was young and dumb that I got a reckless ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The old Virginia standard was that 20 over qualified as reckless driving. Everyone drove 74 mph. When the double-nickle was rescinded, Virginia kept the 20 over limit everywhere except on the interstates, where 80 mph became the reckless line in 65 mph zones.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are spinning 6000 rpm in their graves.

  • avatar
    Illan

    dont forget that Radars Detectors are illegal on this state (virginia) as well. if i visit virginia i will be using a taxi.

  • avatar
    Illan

    a Good Read, one of jalopniks writers got reckless driving charge. http://jalopnik.com/never-speed-in-virginia-lessons-from-my-three-days-in-1613604053

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Is it really so hard to just not speed in VA? It’s not that big a place. I go there frequently for work, pay attention, drive no more than 5 over, and never a problem.

    I like to go fast as much as the next gearhead, but you have to pick your battles.

  • avatar

    My mom and most of her side of the family live in or near Christiansburg (south of Blacksburg, southwest of Roanoke, if you’re curious). Mom has never held a license in her life, and considering how draconian the commonwealth’s laws are on speed and radar detection, I’m starting to think that may be for the best. I certainly would think twice about driving or riding there myself were I to visit Virginia again.

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