By on July 2, 2015

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Or, as I call it, Virginia is stupid…

Last month I spent a fantastic weekend at Pittsburg International Race Complex working my part time gig coaching in supercars. PittsRace is a great facility, lots of runoff, wonderful employees and a pretty great go-kart track. If you swing by, tell Mikey that Mental sends his best.

My drive home was dictated by WAZE to route me through roughly 90 miles of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I emerged on the VA side of the East River Mountain tunnel and allowed the weight of my SUV to pull me down the hill.

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Yes, I was speeding. I usually am. I learned to drive in Atlanta, and I live here now. We drive fast, as do most metropolitan areas. 15 over will not earn you a second glance in the ATL, unless you have Alabama plates and it’s college football season.

My speed had crept up to around 85. That’s when I spotted the white Ford Taurus Police Special. I was busted. On the rare occasions this happens, I do not feign innocence, I pull over and avoid a prolonged dance. Usually I am stopped before they have exerted effort. I pull far over, turn off the engine, my sunglasses come off, my hands stay in view and I make eye contact in the mirror as they approach.

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The good sergeant informed me I was clocked at 84 in a 70. I acknowledged my egregious ways and dutifully handed over my required documents. When he returned to my vehicle, he let me know that I would only be cited for 80. I credit my retired military plates and polite demeanor for this grace on the trooper’s part. He also informed me this would reduce the charge from reckless driving to simple speeding.

Reckless driving? For 14 over? Even in my home state of Georgia 85 only gets you branded a “Super Speeder.” That adds $200 on top of the actual ticket in a clear fundraising measure.

After I told this tale, my friends informed me of how lucky I was the trooper had mercy. I didn’t realize that reckless driving in Virgina is a jail-worthy offence. They linked me to this gem I missed last year in the midst of my retirement.

For years I have argued that speed enforcement stopped being about safety and became revenue generation during the double nickel era. But jail time is not revenue generation. Jail time equates to an expense. Mr. George paid $400 in fines and court costs and the state paid out over $300 to imprison him. Maybe the lawmakers are just that militant in Virginia – after all, radar detectors are illegal there despite an almost 30-year-old Supreme Court ruling that says different. Maybe Virginia is willing to commit their tax revenues to ensure safer roads. My research shows Virginia more or less in the middle of safest states with regards to motor vehicle accidents. So I was puzzled.

Then I returned from another trip. Waiting in my mail were letters from 5 separate attorneys’ willing to represent me, even if I had already paid the fine. Two more showed up this week. They had gotten my citation from the public records. The first one I opened offered to represent me for only $99 and guaranteed a price match if I found a cheaper lawyer. $99 for a $125 fine. Even Mr. George hired an attorney, so in addition to the $400, he had to pay that bill as well.

There it is. So the good, hardworking law enforcement officers in Virginia have now been reduced from toll collectors for Virginia’s municipalities to rainmakers for their law firms.

In the future, I will be avoiding aiding to the cause of both, as well as avoiding the entirety of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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125 Comments on “In Which Our Author Narrowly Missed a Trip to Jail...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    One of Virginia’s legislators is a traffic law defense attorney. Nothing good can come from that.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Lawyers have to pay off their student loans too.

    Me: Set cruise control to +6 over speed limit (when there’s no construction zone). Relax, and let those passing you sweat the ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Your +6 reminded me that the Cruze I rented showed on the display the speed you had set the cruise, for about three seconds after you did so. I found this really handy as it was exact. Also enjoyed the +/- toggle for up and down speed by 1mph increments.

      Do most current cars do this, or is it a GM thing? My car doesn’t, nor does it let me do decrease in cruise speed. I have to cancel and reset.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Also enjoyed the +/- toggle for up and down speed by 1mph increments.”

        I think this is the case for just about every car made in the last 20 years with cruise control. Even my 4Runner, if you flick the stalk rather than hold it, will gain or lose 1 mph as desired. Showing the set cruise speed is neat though, I like little touches like that. My Civic has a digital speedometer so it’s a bit redundant in that case.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Maybe I need to look at my cruise toggles more then. I didn’t think it would do it. I know it will go up, just didn’t think down was there.

          • 0 avatar
            segfault

            On a Nissan/Infiniti (guessing from your profile pic), the set/coast button will reduce speed, and resume/accel will increase. There is also a cancel button. I think my 2009 Altima also had a digital speedometer you could select as one of the trip computer displays. Nissan’s cruise control will not let you set a speed higher than 89 MPH.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks all, I have this wheel (but not gross orange gauges).

            http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/08/29/11/51/2006_infiniti_m35_x_awd-pic-17556.jpeg

            I guess “coast” didn’t read to me as “subtract” since there was no minus sign. So I have been missing using this feature on… all my cars, forever. Bigev, it doesn’t say decel! I think coast is inaccurate, you’re already “coasting” if cruise is on.

            Now I also want to try and set the cruise about 100.

        • 0 avatar
          bigev007

          GM cars with cruise have done it pretty much forever. Since at least early ’80s. My E36 also does it. I think every car I’ve driven with cruise could do it.

          Tap set/accel to accel, tap the resume/decel button to slow down. Hold them and it will accel/decel until you let go. RTFM, I guess :P

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Showing the set cruise speed is neat though”

          My Sportwagen does this, but it has to overwrite the trip odometer display in order to do so, and the indicated cruise speed is always a full mph off from what the speedometer needle shows. So +1 for effort, -1 for insufficient execution.

      • 0 avatar

        Volkswagen also does this, at least cars with the full MFD display after MY2010 or so (when Volkswagen swapped out all of the Mk.5 red interfaces with the cleaner, Mk.6 black and white ones). When cruise control is turned on, the odometer at the bottom left corner of the MFD is replaced by a cruise-control logo and two dashes. Once you set the cruise speed, the dashes are replaced with a digital readout of said cruise speed. If you pause the cruise control function by pressing the brake or simply by hitting “Cancel”, the cruise speed readout shrinks to smaller size, and grows again when cruise control is resumed. Mk.7 vehicles, like my Golf SportWagen also do this, and it follows that all of the vehicles from Volkswagen’s various brands probably do this, save for Bugatti, which seems to use an instrument cluster display similar to that in the Mk.4-based New Beetle.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        My BMW has a little mechanical “speed bug” in a ring around the speedo – cracks me up, it’s such a silly little thing. Displays the set speed digitally for a few seconds too. They also one-up most makers on the up-down adjustment – light push or pull is 1mph, push or pull past the detent in the lever is 5mph. Will be interesting to see if the steering wheel buttons on the M235i can replicate that feature. BMW’s cruise will also use the brakes to maintain or decrease speed. It’s a nice setup, though I was too cheap to get the radar option.

        Max cruise speed on the 328i is 115mph. Tested that in Germany. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The +/- is universal, but precise 1 mph increments are rare. My GM product (a 2009 G8), like most cars I’ve owned, isn’t precise enough with cruise control to have confidence you will stay at exactly the same speed; it varies up or down by up to 2 mph. The only car I’ve ever owned that had cruise control precise enough to stay exactly at a given mph was my 2004 Acura TSX.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          My Dodge Dakota goes up in 1 MPH, but down in 2 MPH ticks. I’ve checked against my phone’s GPS. However I have upsized tires thus speedo is off by 4-5 MPH.

          I’ll have to test 89 MPH Nissan limit deal on my Z, it has a digital readout in the triple center gauge pod.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Also enjoyed the +/- toggle for up and down speed by 1mph increments”

        My Challenger does this as well and I love it. You can watch the set speed disply while hitting the button to set it exactly where you want to the mph/kph. Nice.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Happened to see an “oldcarbrochures.com” reference that 1983 or 1984 was the year that GM’s cruise controls went electronic, with the tap up/down.

        Unlike Nissan units with 90mph all-around, Honda Adaptive Cruise Controls have 90mph as the upper limit in Adaptive mode, and car-speed-limited in “normal” mode.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I keep my GPS on at all time, and use the speed readout on that screen instead of my speedometer. Figure it has to be more accurate. Of course, that’s no guarantee that the deputy’s radar gun is calibrated within performance and time specs.

      • 0 avatar
        RazorTM

        I set my cruise control on 60 according to my Garmin GPS unit and used a timer to calculate the time elapsed over 5 miles using mile markers on the highway. The time was 4’59.64″, so assuming the mile markers were exact, it shows how accurate the GPS can be. My BMW Z3 reads 64mph at 60mph and my ’13 VW Passat is 61mph on the digital readout and 62mph on the analog gauge.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          The discrepancy you noted equates to about one third of 88 ft per sec, or about 30 ft, which is within the what I believe is the current variance built into the GPS system to prevent the system’s use for missile guidance by third parties.

          So I would tend to suspect that as the cause of the missing 0.36 seconds, rather than due to speedo error.

          FWIW, I once did an IT project as a consultant for the Virginia DMV, and there were some decent and nice people working there, and they went out of their way to minimize inconvenience to citizens. But of course, they have no control over what the legislators legislate, or the degree to which law enforcement decides to crack down.

          There is a small county in the middle of Virginia, between Richmond and DC, that has a short stretch of 95 running through it. A newspaper article years ago reported that something like 98% of all of its annual revenue came from speeding tickets on the interstate. No wonder the system has become so entrenched, especially if their elected officials held seniority positions in the legislature.

          Really sad, in the end, because there is so much that is good about that state, yet what gets presented as its face to the general public from out of state is its mickey mouse highway ticketing system.

  • avatar
    NN

    I live in this state, and we need all the bad press we can get on the militant traffic enforcement that has nothing to do with safety so the idiots in Richmond realize something should change.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    As a near lifetime resident of Virginia I can tell you that something other than common sense writes the rules about the speed limit laws here.

    The state recently spent millions of dollars making the road by my office a limited access only road. Removing all the light controlled intersections meant you could now go from a park entrance near Interstate 66 to Route 7 without having to stop at a single light. This road (28, for those of you around here) runs parallel to the runways at Dulles Airport and is just as straight and level. There are 2 places in 13 miles where the road so much as gently bends and they are long sweeping turns of over a mile in length. There are no visual obstructions. The road is 3 lanes wide in each direction with barriers on both sides.

    So what was the speed limit when you had to stop every mile and a half at each intersection? 55mph. And now, after all the improvements and eliminating the choke points (except at the left Ashburn exit heading north and the aforementioned park entrance to the south)? 55mph.

    And you better believe the are police watching every day.

    That’s what Virginia is about. Everywhere you go speed limits are artificially/intentionally low in the name of “safety.” Every knows that accidents happen due to a speed differential, not when everyone is going the same speed. And that’s what’s created by making speeds unnecessarily low.

    When driving in other states I am often shocked to realize that the speed I am naturally going is the speed limit for the road. I am not used to that because of how things are here.

    It’s people like the soccer moms in the suburbs out here complaining about people “flying” through their neighborhoods. So they put in 25mph limits and speed humps. Then the same people illegally cut through my office parking lot, bound over the speed bumps here, and blow through the stop sign in their high-end SUVs to pick up their kid from the school behind us – only to race back through with their kid in the car ensuring that in the future, their kid will cause moms to clutch their pearls and call for more enforcement.

    In other words, we’re doomed and it’s never going to get better.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Didn’t Top Gear (on their second visit to the US) hate the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia because of the low speed limit?

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        It’s supposed to be a scenic road for touring, with many overlooks for the fine view. It’s not supposed to be a cut-through for people looking to “make time.” 45 mph is perfectly adequate for its purpose.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          OK geez!

          I thought it was for high speed touring.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I rode my motorcycle down it in 2008, we eventually ended up just riding sections of it as it was getting us behind schedule. Parts of it at 35 mph! There are tons of deer on it though so there’s at least some logic in it, along with people blindly hopping back on the road from all the vista turn-outs. But boy it’d be great to be able to open it up a bit on those scenic roads.

      • 0 avatar
        DrGastro997

        You’re right, Clarkson bitched about the below 40 mph on the parkway. I lived in VA and did the long trek on that parkway a few times. It’s beautiful. Many car manufacturers do their filming there because of the beauty and curves. But driving that at 35 mph (in a 911) for hours is a pain in the ass- all the while knowing VA cops are hidden everywhere. Top Gear had every right to bitch and moan about it…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I hear you about the neighborhoods. There are two categories of worst offenders for speeding (>35 mph) through my neighborhood street: 1) jacktastic idiots with backwards baseball hats and 2) four local moms I’ve started to recognize, two with MDXes and two with X5s (one six, one V8). The V8 X5 lady often gets near the top of second gear. She’s insane and I’d be tempted to videotape her and call the cops, if only I had spare time.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      I’m in Crystal City, half a mile off the Potomac. I avoid VA highways whenever possible explicitly for this reason. When I switched from NJ to VA registration, it took 1 day for a VA cop to pull me over because I still had NJ safety/emissions stickers on my windshield (supposedly I had 2 months to get VA safety/emission).

      This state (or at least NOVA) is designed to be a suburban hellscape. Troopers pass me at 80 on the NJ Turnpike without blinking, but VA troopers can impund my car at 75 MPH on some of the parkways around here. Un-frikken-real.

      • 0 avatar
        fendertweed

        I agree with you in part but if, for ex., you’re complaining that you can’t go 75 mph on the G. Washington Parkway, the “Un-frikken-real” thing may be your belief that you can possibly do that safely. ; – o

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Sorry to disappoint you, fendertweed, but you CAN go 75 on the GW Parkway, in some places, if the traffic is light and you are driving a car that handles and brakes well. Of course, there is the risk of the “traffic revenuers” snagging you, but although the road is a bit twisty in spots, and there are a couple of somewhat abrupt lane pattern changes, if you know them and are alert, you can really “beat feet” down that road.

          I used to have to do exactly that, years ago, before the current reckless driving/jail laws, when I was living in NYC and had to go down for day trips to our sister office in MD. In order to save an hour or more flying home at the and of a day that would start at 04:30, I often would put the pedal down to avoid getting home at ten or eleven at night.

          Never got nailed, thankfully.

          Later I was once in a commuter pickup area in NOVA, talking with another Thunderbird owner with a V8. He got stopped doing the ton–100mph+–on an interstate, back before the de facto reckless laws, and the prosecutor was even willing to take the money and run, but the judge said that anyone doing 100 in his jurisdiction was going to spend a few days in jail, which he did…about three of them. And he was a white collar Federal government worker.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    A coworker at a former job objected to my repeatedly calling traffic cops “revenuers.”

    So I asked him why a highway system designed to accommodate 1950’s-technology cars doing 75 was artificially limited to 70, when it was currently supporting a population of vehicles five decades more advanced, and why a speed limit of 100 or even 120 wasn’t a more appropriate limit, given the modern engineering involved.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Technological advances in vehicles has been offset by an at least equal reversal in driver skills. It’s a jungle out there!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      A 120 mph limit with 105mph-limited Corollas and Fits, aging loaded minivans, inattentive and underskilled drivers, not to mention commercial truck traffic struggling to do half that only one lane away, and imbeciles that already try to merge onto 65mph freeways at 50?

      It isn’t just the revenuers preventing us from having an Autobahn here, its your fellow citizens. Here on the 80mph freeways of rural Utah I have to flash left-lane loafers on approach so they’ll move out of the way just so I can maintain 84mph. 120 is never happening.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        While I agree that 120mph is too high, there is a happy medium. 80-85mph is probably it. I find in my travels around the country that the majority of people in good weather, light traffic, light enforcement conditions settle in to 70-80mph. Pretty much regardless of what the actual speed limit is. 85 is a good covering ground speed. Not so fast as to need 110% concentration, not so slow to be boring. And ultimately, it is only a max anyway, you can always go slower if your comfort level or equipment require.

        99% of the problem is NOT speed, or speed differentials, it is lane discipline or lack thereof. Even the unlimited portions of the Autobahn are filled with trucks going a max of ~70mph. And they have SHORTER on and off ramps than most US rural interstates. Especially the off-ramps. The average European may only have 100hp underfoot, but he is willing and able to use every last one of them. Unlike the average American who has 200hp but only ever uses 100.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I believe you’re dead on. Every drive, every day in my area traffic flow is continually retarded by people paying no attention to their driving.

          It’s as if they climb into their cars and let their conscious minds wander to distant lands while their brainstems vaguely force their limbs to push pedals and turn wheels until their destination miraculously shows up in front of their windshields.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Unlike the average American who has 250hp but only ever uses 75.”

          FIFY

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Our drivers and our cars are not capable of handling an 80 mph limit safely, let alone anything higher. To make a 100+ mph limit work we’d need TUV-like inspections and expensive, no-BS German-style driver training. And based on your posting history I have a feeling you’d be whining about nanny-state regulation if we had those things.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If the limit were 100mph, most people wouldn’t bother going that fast anyway. People generally don’t drive according to the limit.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Our drivers and our cars are not capable of handling an 80 mph limit safely, let alone anything higher.”

        Roll eyes. Many of us commute every day at 80-85mph with zero ill effects at all, except the potential speeding ticket. It’s not uncommon at all, even in Chicagoland here with our stupid 55mph limits on the interstates.

        I also maintain that we are poor drivers BECAUSE we have crap speed limites. You stick a bunch of poor drivers in capable cars and saddle them with 55mph limits, they’re going to fidget around. And some will speed and some won’t, leading to big differentials on the roads. Stick everyone in cars with an 80-85 limit, and they tend to pay more attention.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Try driving on the rural Idaho and Wyoming interstates that have 80 limits sometime. Look at what’s in the right lane. Lots of old pickups and beaters held together with string and prayers. They’re going 60 mph because their drivers know perfectly well that more would be unsafe. Creating a 40+ mph speed differential with those cars would create conditions well beyond the skill of our completely uneducated drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I have driven the Wyoming interstates at 80- from Casper to Cheyenne, and Cheyenne to Rock Springs. The car was an Audi A6, easily capable at 80. I settled in quickly, and there weren’t decrepit pickups running around. I own two 1980s pickups, which are very common here in Wyoming. I don’t take them on the Interstate anymore, though. Last year, I took my 1987 Chevrolet to Billings, where the Interstate speed limit is 75. I was easily able to do that speed.

            Wyoming isn’t full of cars held together with strings and prayers. We have some, yes. But, not that many. The massive distances between points weed out the unsafe vehicles. Farm trucks going 10 miles won’t be on the Interstates, anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I think you are in a different part of Wyoming than where I’ve driven. Granted, I’m there less often than Idaho, which I pass through at least twice a year. Lots of poor communities where people don’t have money to maintain their cars.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I’ve traveled the I-84 corridor through Idaho’s dour potato farmin’ country a fair amount and I certainly notice an uptick in the number of poorly maintained vehicles.

            Left lane etiquette is also terrible through there. It’s not an enjoyable drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            One reason that rural fatality rates are higher than urban fatality rates is that the vehicles are usually older, so they are less likely to have the most up-to-date passive safety equipment.

            (For the Germanophiles among you, it might be worth noting that average vehicle age in Germany is almost three years lower than in the US.)

            But equipment failure is not much of a factor in crashes. It’s usually the drivers, not what they’re driving.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I live in the Northwestern corner of the state, and travel 30000 miles annually in my commute to work alone. The county that I live in has a median income of $20,000. We don’t run that many death traps, though. There are a few farm trucks that should be put out to pasture, but a lot of our cars are pretty well maintained- even the older ones.

            The problems we usually have are cosmetic, because of the distances. When you drive 100 miles a day, you don’t want a beater. A lot of people I know keep their mechanicals in check, but have rough looking auto bodies. I have a 1987 Chevrolet that had enough bondo that it became known as “50 shades of grey”.

            The two large sections of the Interstates that are 80MPH is Casper to Cheyenne, and Laramie to Rock Springs. I’ve driven both of them a few times. There weren’t too many older cars. Once, I drove to denver in a 1995 LeSabre. All the way from Casper to Cheyenne, I think I saw maybe 10 cars that were older than mine. One was a restored-looking Javelin. I’m not sure if that counts.

            Personally, I think that if people want to crash, let them. I know the limits of my two 1980s trucks, and I wouldn’t push either to 80- at least not consistently.

            On the Interstates, my Audi can do 80 all day at a leisurely pace. On rural highways, the limit is 65 (WYDOT will be raising it to 70 in a lot of places), but Montana has 70MPH limits. I feel much more relaxed in Montana.

            If you’re going too slow, it bores a lot of drivers. Their minds wander, and there are problems.

            A lot of the farm trucks stay local. The irrigators all seem to run late 80s Toyotas. I wouldn’t drive one at all, but the ones that I see work within a 10 mile radius- mostly off the highways. We’ve seen the same GMC Sonoma with the off-colored door and a badly hit bed running down the roads for the last 10 years. It doesn’t go fast, and it doesn’t go far. I doubt many people would be crazy enough to do that!

            At least, I hope so. I don’t have much faith in drivers ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Chi-One

          +1
          I run I-294 daily, the interstate that circles the Chicago metro area. The left lane travels at 80-85 routinely, and, you will get passed on the right if the lane is open. When every driver pays attention, it is like a symphony playing.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Stricter licensing, driver training and vehicle inspections don’t contribute to safety, either.

        I’ve explained below why we should not have strictly interpreted speed limits on rural interstates. The whole concept misses the point of what distinguishes a safe speed from an unsafe one.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Stricter licensing, driver training and vehicle inspections don’t contribute to safety, either.”

          What now?

          So what is it that gives Germany a lower fatality rate than the US despite the insane conditions on unrestricted stretches of autobahn?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Massachusetts has a lower fatality rate than Germany. Maybe we should all eat more chowder.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @PCH101

            Massachusetts has a lot of slow moving traffic and a lot of world class trauma centers concentrated in a very small area. Both of which contribute to a low fatality rate. You would have to try very hard to get killed in a car accident on Rt 128, but an awful lot of miles get wracked up on that miserable road every day.

            At this point you have to try fairly hard to get killed in a car at all, assuming you are in something recent and wearing a seat belt.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Elevated speed limits and good clam chowder would be a sound foundation for the world I want to live in.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, that’s part of the point. If you have a major wreck outside of Munich, you’re far more likely to get the trauma care that you need than if you require the jaws of life and emergency surgery somewhere in the middle of Montana.

            In rural America, you’re more likely to die during the golden hour because of the distances involved. There is no place in Europe that is as rural as the US and that has the volume of vehicle traffic that we have.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            In Germany, they take their driving as seriously as a surgeon does here during surgery. Hence no cupholders in their cars (no longer true, but it used to be).

            Americans do everything BUT drive while behind the wheel . . . as though driving is some kind of autonomic function.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            And yet, the (presumably less serious) Massholes kill each other at lower rates.

            There are a lot of factors that contribute to fatality rates. Unfortunately, the facts of the matter are far more dull than the uberdeutscher commentary that is posted on car websites.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Massachusetts doesn’t have Porsche 911 Turbos routinely creating speed differentials of 130 mph. That’s my whole point: that our drivers can’t handle the speed differentials you get when you have an extremely high (or absent) limit. They don’t have lane discipline, they don’t look at their mirrors, and they don’t take driving seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The driver of a Porsche (or any other car, for that matter) in Germany is more likely to wear a seat belt than his American counterpart. He is also less likely to be under 18, given that they don’t issue licenses to sixteen and seventeen year olds and the licenses that are issued to new drivers are provisional.

            As I noted, there are many factors that contribute to differences in fatality rates. Just raising the driving age in the US would save a lot of lives.

          • 0 avatar

            Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state in the country. The rest of you have so thoroughly covered why our fatality rate is low that the only thing I can add is that Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state–after New Jersey and Rhode Island. And, yeah, 128 is molasses many hours of the day.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Germany is not exactly lacking in population density, either.

            The point remains that there are many factors that contribute to differences in fatality rates. Driver training isn’t one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Veee8

      Speed Kills your Pocketbook. You Tube Video with some good arguments…

      – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BKdbxX1pDw

  • avatar
    210delray

    I am not a native of Virginia, but I have lived here for over 35 years. On the rural interstates, 70 mph is fast enough — deal with it! Use the up to 9 mph cushion if you must.

    As for Route 28 by Dulles, if all of the traffic lights are gone, I could see increasing the speed limit somewhat. But this is normally a very heavily traveled road, so it would seem that 60 or 65 mph would be about right. But realistically, this is about as likely to happen as increasing the 55 speed limit on the DC Beltway, which passes through VA and MD.

    And yes, I do loath the 25 mph speed limits in just about every dinky little town you encounter, but this is not all that different from other nearby states — PA, NJ, and DE. Maryland typically allows 30 mph — woo hoo!

    One big advantage about VA compared to some of these other states is that in the main, we do not use 4-way stop signs as an artificial means to reduce speeds (thinking of PA, which is notorious for this).

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      On a rural limited-access highway, the speed limit should almost always be determined by the flow of traffic.

      The roads are engineered for 90+ mph speeds. There’s no good reason to prosecute drivers who are safely using the roads as they were designed to be used.

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        I thought the design speed of the interstates constructed since the Eisenhower era was 70 mph, not 90 mph. There’s much more traffic today, and certainly drivers have not improved in comparison to the increasing safety of today’s cars. No state has a 90 mph limit, and except for one road in Texas, no limit is above 80.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A divided limited access highway with clear lines of sight is capable of far more than 70 mph. Europe is full of such roads, and our interstates are designed to essentially the same specs.

          The key to traffic safety is getting rid of as many contact points as possible. Eliminating cross traffic and two-way opposing traffic, as interstates do, is the best thing for safety.

          We should be doing what we can to divert rural traffic away from roads that aren’t built to such standards. Ironically, these speed laws make driving less safe because the speeders head for the more dangerous ordinary highways that have all of these hazards but where the enforcement is less rigorous. (The US does this backwards — the cops flock to the interstates, enforcing the limits most strictly on the very roads where they are the least important.)

          In any case, flow of traffic determines the safe speed. Driving well above or well below the norm is what creates opportunities for conflict.

          • 0 avatar
            Sky_Render

            “Europe is full of such roads, and our interstates are designed to essentially the same specs.”

            No, they are not. Go to Germany and watch what happens when the Autobahn gets a pot hole. They close the lane, excavate roughly a minivan’s worth of dirt around where the pot hole was, refill it, and repave it.

            Here in ‘Merica, we just dump a little asphalt in it and call it good.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Most rural interstates in the US are in perfectly decent condition. 85-90mph is simply not an issue. Our urban interstates tend to be terrible, but there is too much traffic to go fast near cities anyway. Which is the same in Germany.

            At least my own state of Maine is seeing the light and raising speed limits all over the place. Plus our enforcement has never been draconian anyway. If you do get a ticket the fine will hurt, but at least you are unlikely to go to jail for it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The pothole anecdote is fun and everything, but it has no bearing on good practices for setting speed limits.

            The whole idea of a rural interstate “speed limit” is a misnomer. The range of safe speeds is almost always determined by the flow of traffic.

            Safe speeds are essentially democratic. If drivers are inclined to cruise between 60-90 and they can be safely separated from each other, then there is almost never a good reason to prevent any of them from doing it. (There are exceptions, but not often.)

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    “For years I have argued that speed enforcement stopped being about safety and became revenue generation during the double nickel era”

    Grow up and drive safer OP. Want to drive 85? Move to Texas, otherwise enjoy the laws of the land.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      The fact that something’s the law doesn’t make it good, or right, or safe. It just makes it the law. And a dismissive and simplistic response to anyone who points out their objections to a given law hinders the democratic process of adapting laws to the will of the people. If you’re certain that a system which limits 80,000lb trucks and 40-year-old rattletraps and top-heavy SUVs and new Porsches to the same speed is based solely in safety, you’re welcome to adhere and vote to keep the system. But the fact that the author does not neither deserves nor warrants your dismissal.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      We’re still allowed to politic to get the laws changed and to avoid visiting states with statues we consider excessive.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You’re the guy everyone was passing on the 101 today, weren’t you? You were going maybe 50 in a 65 zone in the middle lane.

      Admit it.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m a former Virginia resident, and now I live in Illinois.

      Illinois a much better place to live, even with tornadoes, corruption, and real winter.

      Virginia is just that fascist. I miss the mountains, but not the mindfuck. I’m not moving back.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Firstly, I had no idea that opening you up for reckless driving for that speed was uncommon. Here in NC, you hit “Reckless Driving” if you are going 10 or more over in a 55 or higher zone. (15 over in a under-55 zone) 14-over ain’t exactly slow. That said, it’s common for the cops here to drop it to 9-over for you. (The last ticket I got was dropped to simply “exceeding the posted” which was easily pled down to Improper Equipment.)

    As far as the lawyer goes… isn’t it also pretty standard for tickets to be public record? For me anyway, it was totally worth it hiring the lawyer. In direct ticket costs, it was pretty much a wash (the offense was made cheaper when pleading down by about the same amount as the legal fees (which were reasonable, $55, I think.) The real savings came from insurance costs, as pleading down decreases the number of insurance points you’ll be docked, MORE than making up for the legal fees.

    In most jurisdictions, you don’t really need a lawyer for traffic offenses IF you can show up in person on the court date; the DA will commonly have a desk you can go to and plead down. I got the ticket in a jurisdiction 1 1/2 hours away, so it was totally worth it to pay somebody to show up for me.

    Despite the Reckless Driving charge, you almost certainly did not “narrowly avoid” going to jail for it. While technically they can throw you in jail for every reckless driving offense, unless you are a real jerk to the officer or really driving like an idiot, you are probably quite safe. (The linked story was for going 38 over in a 55… I would have tossed him in the clink for a couple days too. There’s exceeding the speed limits, and there’s pretending they don’t exist.)

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    I liared up for my last ticket, blowing through a school zone at 35 mph, the normal, non-school time speed limit in my little town. $350 ticket, ouch. Attorney was $300, but he won and I kept it off my insurance. Won’t make that mistake again, hopefully. I just left three hours later that day and wasn’t thinking.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My father warned me about speeding in Virginia over twenty years ago. The locals seem to have sped past me recently on 295 with my cruise set at 75, I say let them.

  • avatar
    swissfreek

    My one time visiting Fort Worth, TX for a one-day business trip, I got pulled over for doing 40 (which was the posted limit) in a 20, because I missed a school crossing sign at an intersection. The officer first made sure that I was aware I was doing “double the speed limit” (OK, sort of…), and then gave me my multi-hundred-dollar (I want to say it was like $250?) ticket and sent me on my way.

    When I got back to MD the next day, I went online to figure out who I had to mail my check to. Turns out that in Texas, you have to turn your check in in person! But have no fear, because like you, within a few days, I started getting letters from lawyers telling me they would be happy to take care of this for me for a fee that basically came out to be the same cost as the ticket, but without the ticket on my record. Not like I had a choice of flying back to Texas hand-deliver a check, so of course I went with the lawyer. That is the only time I’ve ever encountered that situation (having lived in MA, MD, OK, GA, NC, and WA, and traveled in many more states, and gotten tickets in a few), but I guess now I know VA plays this game as well.

    And sure, it’s easy to comment and say “well duh, just drive slower.” Very simplistic answer. But I agree with the OP. If giving speeding tickets were really about public safety, police cars wouldn’t hide in bunkers like they do on the Mass Pike, or drive murdered out F-150s like they do in WA. No, they would drive fully marked cruisers with lights all over them, and they’d be on a pedestal in the middle of the highway so everyone could see them. Why? Because what do you do when you see a police cruiser? You slow down! Public safety mission accomplished. The guy that sees the cruiser and blows by him at 99mph, you pull him over and hammer him or her. But hiding the cruiser behind bushes, or having a poorly-marked 10-foot wide school zone, or routinely reducing the ticket to the 9-over minimum ticket (“I guess I can live with that, at least he didn’t give me the higher ticket, I won’t waste my time fighting it”) is pure revenue generation.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      Thankfully, there is no state income tax in TX, but many municipalities have reduced a significant portion of their law enforcement force to nothing more than revenue collection agents; the city in which I live, for example, has 35 motorcycle cops whose sole purpose is traffic enforcement.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Firstly, I had no idea that opening you up for reckless driving for that speed was uncommon. Here in NC, you hit “Reckless Driving” if you are going 10 or more over in a 55 or higher zone. (15 over in a under-55 zone) 14-over ain’t exactly slow. That said, it’s common for the cops here to drop it to 9-over for you. (The last ticket I got was dropped to simply “exceeding the posted” which was easily pled down to Improper Equipment.)

    As far as the lawyer goes… isn’t it also pretty standard for tickets to be public record? For me anyway, it was totally worth it hiring the lawyer. In direct ticket costs, it was pretty much a wash (the offense was made cheaper when pleading down by about the same amount as the legal fees (which were reasonable, $55, I think.) The real savings came from insurance costs, as pleading down decreases the number of insurance points you’ll be docked, MORE than making up for the legal fees.

    In most jurisdictions, you don’t really need a lawyer for traffic offenses IF you can show up in person on the court date; the DA will commonly have a desk you can go to and plead down. I got the ticket in a jurisdiction 1 1/2 hours away, so it was totally worth it to pay somebody to show up for me.

    Despite the Reckless Driving charge, you almost certainly did not “narrowly avoid” going to jail for it. While technically they can throw you in jail for every reckless driving offense, unless you are a real jerk to the officer or really driving like an idiot, you are probably quite safe. (The linked story was for going 38 over in a 55… I would have tossed him in the clink for a couple days too. There’s exceeding the speed limits, and there’s pretending they don’t exist.)

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yes, but the point is he didn’t know that the local laws gave the officer so much power over him in the situation.

      But, then again, police officers sometimes get a pass an what normal people would consider murder, so he shouldn’t really be a surprised. The Virginia State Police, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, and the Montgomery County Shefiffs Department replaced the respect I used to have for police, with a healthy fear of armed men with attitude problems and uniforms.

  • avatar
    Syke

    During the 2008 (if my memory is correct, I know I’m within a year or two) legislative session a bill was introduced to end the radar detector illegality. During the committee hearings, a county sheriff testified, on record, that making radar detectors legal would pose an undue burden on the counties because of the expected revenue revenue drop.

    I was torn between being amazed at the gall this guy had to go on the record, or show a begrudging admiration for someone finally being honest enough to admit to what ‘everybody knows’.

    The bill never made it out of committee.

    And lest you think your situation is wrong (you were damned lucky, deputies usually don’t give an inch), I can top it with something more rediculous:

    At the Honda/Yamaha/Can-Am store where I work, one of our salesmen owns and uses a very modified Honda Ruckus (50cc scooter, legal moped, with good enough performance to hold 35mph all day in stock form) as his daily driver. One day he was picked off by radar doing 38mph in a 45 zone. His affront? A Ruckus isn’t allowed to do more than 35. Yes, a ticket followed. And I’m amazed that the system didn’t force him to de-modify the scooter, or get it re-registered as a motorcycle.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Scooters by law are supposed to not exceed 35. I guess that’s a caveat of not needing a license to drive one (50cc or lower).

      One passed me on the way to work one morning, and I was doing 50 in a 45. I thought it was a motorcycle at first!

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        There’s a difference between a scooter and a mo-ped. A scooter lets the driver place both feet on a deck in front of the seat rather than straddling the horse, as it were. A mo-ped is essentially a gasoline powered bicycle still with the bike pedals to help it get started and climb grades. Honda builds several grades of scooters, all the way up to the Silver Wing which is fully freeway-legal.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Very possibly (legally) it was.

        I just bought myself a new Yamaha Zuma 125 for the daily commute (10 miles each way) to work. Unless you’re really into scooters and can pick out the different, my 125 looks identical to a Zuma 50, of which we sell a lot of. The 50 tops out at 35, my 125 will (once the engine is broken in) top out somewhere between 55 and 60. Yet they look identical.

        Most drivers assume any scooter they see on the street is a legal moped, and there’s a 90% chance they’re right. It’s fun to drive the exception, and that little bastard will drop almost any car from a stoplight to 30mph.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I don’t sweat the cost or insurance/license consequences of tickets at all. They’re one of the few problems in life that can truly be solved just by throwing money at it. Get a lawyer, give him $100-$400 depending on the severity of the alleged infraction, and the ticket disappears.

    My most recent example of this was that doing 75 in a 55 became “faulty equipment” which is not even a moving violation and carries a $50 fine and zero points. $250 well spent.

    This arrangement works out well for everybody. The state gets paid, the lawyer gets paid, and I get to go on with my life with minimal hassle.

    This business about going to the slammer for speeding is a different animal entirely. Seems like nobody wins, since it costs the state money and hoses up my weekend. Lame.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Really?!? You see no issue at all with these interests colluding to fleece you in the name of public safety, yet the worst thing that could happen to them would be if everyone actually obeyed the law. Also, a handful of jail sentences here and there for folks who may have actually been doing unsafe things only serves to reinforce the myth that we should feel lucky and grateful to only have to shovel our money at this corrupt system.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Once I realized that public safety doesn’t have much to do with traffic enforcement, I started seeking tickets as a tax.

        Thinking of it this way has also made it much easier to avoid tickets. I’ve beet ticket-free since the BS ticket in Florida (combined with cops gone wild in Virginia) made me reconsider my assumptions.

        Revenue generation is a far more predictive heuristic for police behavior. Also, Waze and driving a nondescript gray minivan probably help.

    • 0 avatar
      fendertweed

      Try $500-1,000 if you’re charged with reckless driving … I know from recent experience (not me).

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Virginia has jumped the shark. They must have seen a slip in their DUI receipts, leading them to criminalize car travel in general. When word gets out not to speed in the commiewealth, what will they go after next?

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Glad you asked, they’ve got you covered. The new horizon in fleecing comes by practically every new mile of highway in VA (and even some old ones) being turned into private toll roads. Build roads to even higher safe speed standards, create even more limited access to them, and then shoot the fish in the barrel all while charging you for the privilege.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The word has BEEN out for decades and people still speed. If folks didn’t act the way they do, there wouldn’t be an issue.

      Tomorrow i’ll be driving on Highway 58 through Emporia, one of the most well known speed traps in the state. On a holiday weekend, no less. I bet I will be able to count half a dozen flies in the Web, and that will just be my snapshot.

      Me, I’ll be doing 4 or 5 over andd enjoying the scenery. It’s a nice pleasant drive anyway.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I think artificially low speed limits are bad but….

    Under most circumstances and reasonable speed of traffic, there really isn’t a point to going anything more than 5mph over the limit. You’ll get to your destination 5 min earlier, that just isn’t worth a ticket.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I keep it less than 10 over, and never have any problem. Smoky wants the big fish. In towns, I stay around 5 over, less than that in active school zones.

    Over 80 is automatic reckless driving in VA. It wasn’t the 14 over that he could have gotten you for. We have some stretches of interstate posted at 70 but I doubt we’ll ever see 75 because the unwritten “5 over is OK” and mandatory reckless at 80 will conflict.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’ve lived in and near VA for a wile, and let me tell you this: it just sucks. I’d rather line in FL or NJ than VA. It’s the worst place ever. Full of white trash in Norfolk, black trash in Newport News (where Mike Vick developed his dogfighting habit), the worst kind of self-important yuppies in Fairfax, and rednecks everywhere else. That state is downright terrible.

    And this is comeing from someone who now (not by choice) lives in Illinois! I’d rather stay here than go back to VA.

    Oh, and not to mention, ice storms in the winter and blazing humidity in the summer. Terrible.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Reckless driving for 14 over on the freeway? It’s enough to make me Libertarian. I’d rather that punitive category be saved for the people who tailgate and weave dangerously between lanes trying to get ahead of the traffic that cannot be gotten ahead of.

  • avatar
    sgtyukon

    I was once a municipal treasurer. Every municipality doesn’t live on traffic fines, but some do and they all track them.

    Virginia speed laws have been crazy for a long time. I worked in Richmond in the early 1970’s, at which time the speed limit on I-95 was 65 MPH and everyone did 75 when traffic permitted. I moved away and when I visited again, the speed limit on 95 had been raised to 70 MPH. I continued to drive 75 and I got a ticket somewhere north of Richmond, for 5 over on the Interstate! That 5-0ver ticket required that I appear in front of a JP right then, or pay a bond equal to what the fine would be and forfeit said bond if I didn’t return for the court date some time in the future. I paid the bond and didn’t show.

    Virginia isn’t the only place where speed laws are crazy and designed to raise revenue. I got a ticket in Hick Town Florida once for doing 35 when the cop who saw me doing it was parked under a 40 MPH speed-limit sign. Seems in that town you can’t accelerate until you pass the sign.

    And if you drive from Colorado Springs CO to Cimarron NM, once you get off the Interstate in NM, you’ll see that the speed limit changes pretty randomly from time to time. Plus, Cimarron, home of the Philmont Scout Ranch and about 900 permanent residents, had two traffic court judges when I was there about eight years ago. Two traffic court judges for 900 people and a large contingent of out-of-state visitors suggests to me that Cimarron might possibly have been a speed trap when I was there. Haven’t been back since.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Here in Toronto on the local news channel they have graphics showing drive time between points on the major highways. There are two numbers, the time based on the posted limit and the time based on current traffic flow. Except for rush hour, the latter is always less than the former. Interesting, to say the least.

    Of course, we don’t normally get any extra penalties for speeding unless you exceed 50km/h, then you get hit for “street racing” and your car is impounded. Ironically, one of the first big stories of this new law was when the local constabulary nabbed a provincial officer in an unmarked cruiser.

    There is a group at http://www.stop100.ca trying to get the limit raised, but at the same time the provincial government is working on a bill to remove the ability to fight your ticket in court

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    136km/h, that’s a spicy meatball.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Heh. I’m not one who can easily avoid hitting Virginia on my way to the southeast as I live in northeastern Maryland and right on I-95. To avoid Virginia entirely would take me nearly 300 miles out of my way at a minimum to be able to retain interstate highway speeds.

    However, I learned a long time ago that the best way to avoid speeding tickets is to keep your speed at a reasonable one. Most of the time, staying less than 10 over–and in my case I lock down to 5 over at most–they won’t bother with you. Even when I drove a ’96 Camaro I chose to not exceed 70mph on Virginia’s freeways and realized 32mpg with a car rated for only 28 highway even with all the steep grades of riding I-81 through the Appalachians. When it comes to my driving today, because my OTR vehicle is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, I hold it to about 62 (yes, slower than the speed limit) but have achieved as much as 25mpg average over a 650-mile run up the length of the Interstate despite its rating of only 19mpg. When you’ve got a thirsty car, you tend to want to make it sip instead of gulp its fuel. Of course, it also helps that I use cruise control, which helps keep me from getting lead-footed over time.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Different cars, different ideal speeds.

      My G8 is most efficient (getting about 24.5 mpg) at a steady speed of 65-70 mph.

      My Forester is most efficient (getting as much as 32 mpg) at a steady speed of 45-50 mph. But that’s too slow to drive on the freeway, even if you don’t care about getting where you’re going or pissing people off.

  • avatar

    Yinz forgot the “h” in Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh International Race Complex

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      “yinz” makes me :)

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I was about to mention that myself. I thought he meant a raceway near the Pittsburg in Kansas. I didn’t realize that the old Beaver Valley Raceway renamed itself. Still a very nice course…

    • 0 avatar

      Dangit! And I should know better. With absolutely no sarcasm whatsoever, I sincerely apologize to the good citizens of the Steel City. Everyone I have met in that area are great people, I meant no disrespect and the fact it took this long to point it out, and that it was done with humor emphasizes my point about the populace. I’ll be back in October. Ideally with nothing to report other than “this place is still awesome.” But I will get my spelling correct.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I follow a 10% rule, unless it is a construction or school zone.

    Speed limit +10% and you will very likely be safe.

    60 – over 66 you’re a target.

    70 – over 77 you’re a target.

    30 – over 33 you’re a target.

    Knock on wood – one speeding ticket in 14 years – I was 40 in a 25 — broke my own rule and he caught me fair and square.

    Dismissed due to my sterling driving record in court – just pay my stupidity tax for “court fees”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      My best friend in high school was pulled over in Medina, WA for 38 in a 35. I’m pretty sure the cause was her beat-up, missing-hubcapped Taurus wagon. 10% is good unless you have a poor person’s car in a rich person’s place (or unless you’re black in an overwhelmingly white place).

    • 0 avatar
      fendertweed

      Even in head-up-butt VA you’ll generally get 9-10 over on a 55 mph+ road IME. Not always, but a general guideline …

      64 in a 55, or 72-74 in a 65 have resulted in zero stops in 28 yrs. for me.

  • avatar
    SimRacingDan

    I bought my Boxster Spyder in Virginia. Flew down and drove it back with a friend. I obeyed the limit – it helped that I chose to go on 113 so we could go over the bay bridge. 113 is a 50mph highway with stoplights every mile and cops every 2 miles. I’ve never seen anything like the police presence on that road.

    Anyway, it was a fun trip but made much longer by the stoplights and the ridiculous strictness of the traffic enforcement.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    My grandfather is a retired Missouri State Highway Patrol after 35 years. Back then, officers of the law had a mission to protect and serve, not be glorified revenue collectors. Yes, tickets were still written, but for different reasons. The funds went back into the agencies and a lot of it paid for safety education. The proceeds from the citations weren’t used as a band-aid for the fiscal “boo-boos” across other agencies.

    States, counties and cities had balanced budgets. The revenue from sales and income taxes were good enough; the money was, for the most part, handled responsibly. Now, because we have a bunch of clueless zombies as elected officials that have no sense of accountability, governments are bulking up on their traffic enforcements not to protect the public but to rake in revenue to make up for the losses. Anyone who says differently is lying. It’s not just traffic enforcement, either. Anything that you could be cited for (building codes, etc), municipalities are turning the law into an ATM.

    It no longer has nothing to do with public safety, and I really think that today’s traffic enforcement is relied upon so much as a source of revenue that commissions are paid out for each citation written, kind of like how a retail store will pay sales associates commissions for each extended warranty they sell. That’s one reason why I chose to go into IT rather than law enforcement: I’d want to carry on the legacy that my grandfather had: protect the public, not pour more money into the rusted leaking tub that our governments resemble. If I wanted to collect revenue, I’d be an overpaid slob at the IRS.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    After living in VA for a few years, I came to the same conclusion as the author. Worse than revenue generators for the state, VA cops are revenue generators for the lawyers and judges. For a nominal fee (about $1500) you can have a professional put on a kabuki dance of shame and contrition for you and walk away from court unscathed. Go it alone, and you will be convicted, fined at least that much and have the dreaded insurance hit. This is well documented on city data, and other community sites. It is legalized graft and is one of the most disgusting safety frauds that I have ever seen. And, no, I was never pulled over, so this ain’t sour grapes.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I find it quite fitting that I’m reading these comments as my father and I have just decided to give up on the bumper to bumper traffic on I-94 and just take Highway 10 to St. Cloud.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    What a disturbing situation that even as an avowed supporter of government have to question the point and effort put towards these laws. Easy election gaming and constant support for authoritarian motives have let these come into being. I remember in my early 20s I got cited for 96 in a 55, I was all by my lonesome on a stretch of interstate that during rush hour can be busy but was empty due to it being mid-day. I was cited, threatened with suspension, and took it all the way to county court to have it thrown because the officer refused to show. Had I not it would have been a 6 months suspension which would have basically wrecked my life and slowed down all of my plans and possibly ended the chance of my PhD.

    Since then, I’ve slowed down, barely doing more than 90 in all but the most remote areas where 80 is allowed. But I always worry about how arbitrary and draconian this enforcement system is for what amounts to simply a desire to get places faster. Speeding is only an issue in crowded situations where the divergent speeds of vehicles create inevitable danger but simply increasing the risk doesn’t decrease the chances of people doing it because the law is effectively disconnected from the reality of the situation. Our author didn’t even know of the risks driving through Virginia until AFTER he got home and was receiving mail. It’s a stupid instance where better research and thought trumps convenient ideology and satisfaction of the public that doesn’t understand the implications.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    Wow reading through these comments I think Maryland actually has pretty sane regulations, there are some good driving roads to boot.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    What the hell is wrong with Virginia, all I ever hear is horror stories about that place, especially when it comes to speeding. How could the people that live there let that state become a hellhole like that, do you have no balls, no spine?

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    I’ve lived in VA for 28 yrs.

    To say that “their” heads are up their asses so far that they can’t possibly see daylight doesn’t begin to cover it, though I drive prudently and not recklessly, and have a good driving record.

    But I freely and frequently exercise my right under the FCC Act of 1934 (?) when it comes to receiving radio waves broadcast on public frequencies, if you catch my drift.

    If you live here, though, you know to keep it at 79-80 on cruise, if that, on highways, and watch it on local roads, there are hidden tax collectors all over.

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