An Attempt to Increase the Reckless Driving Law in Virginia Fails
Virginia’s reckless driving laws state that you can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor for going more than 80 miles per hour on the state’s highways. This charge could carry penalties of up to a year in jail or up to $2,500 in fines. Elsewhere in the state’s traffic laws, it states that driving 20 mph over the speed limit is considered reckless driving. This little quirk in the state’s laws can lead to a lot of confusion, especially when some speed limits can reach as high as 70 mph, leaving a window of only 10 mph before reckless driving charges can be given.
Senator Dave Suetterlein (R-Roanoke County) introduced SB 104 in order to increase the maximum threshold to 85 mph, widening the window to 15mph above the state’s top speed limits. Senator Suetterline stated, “No one intends for it to be 9 mph over and you get a small ticket, but at 11 mph over, you're now exposed to jail time, a huge fine.”
While the bill passed the Senate 23-16, for the third year in a row, it did not pass the House committee, which voted 5-0 against it. Insurance company representative opposed the bill since it had the potential to increase accident rates and raise the amount of serious accidents. Higher speeds mean less time to react, higher impact speeds, and a longer braking time, which can contribute greatly to fatal accidents.
Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) expressed concern about the possibility of the proposed law leading to a higher number of catastrophic and fatal accidents, since the differences in physics will vary greatly between accidents at 80 mph and those that happen at 85 mph. He also expressed concern that eventually the speed limit would creep up further and further with subsequent laws.
At Kalfus Nachman, PC, we are dedicated to helping our community stay safe. If you have been involved in an accident and were injured, don’t hesitate to call our experienced Newport News car accident attorneys. We are ready to fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
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