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Virginia's Exorbitant New Abuser Fees: Happy Motoring!

Starting on Sunday, if a jerk from Maryland or the District drives recklessly in Virginia, he'll be liable for a $100 fine. But if the jerky driver is a Virginian, he'll get slapped with an extra $1,050 fine on top of the $100. Similarly, if an out of state drunk gets caught on a Virginia road, he'll face a $250 fine if this is his first DUI. But a Virginian caught in the same act will have to pay the $250 plus a bonus fee of $2,250.

Needless to say, this innovation in soaking roadway miscreants is not going over especially well in the Old Dominion.

There's a great uproar about the supposed unfairness of hitting Virginians with giant fees that out of state drivers don't have to worry about. There's a wave of grumbling about how this new fee structure came to pass, with a special focus on the role of the lawyer/politicians who stand to gain big money from this novel way of raising tax dollars.

There's a big bonanza of fees awaiting those law firms around the state that are selected to go chase after the highway miscreants who don't pay their fines in a timely way. Let's take a look at some of the discomfiting effects of this new law. State attorney general Bob McDonnell, who wants to be your next governor, used to work at the firm of Huff, Poole & Mahoney in Virginia Beach, which has an exclusive contract with local prosecutors' offices to go out and collect those unpaid fines. The firm, according to the Virginian-Pilot, earned more than $2 million in collection fees last year. McDonnell, as his staff was quick to remind me this morning, does not give out those contracts and has no financial connection to his old firm. But still, it doesn't exactly breed confidence in the system when lawyers who go on to work for the people of Virginia appear to be in the position of creating law that could help their old friends.

Closer to home, it's northern Virginia Delegate David Albo who's getting slammed as the creator of this new fee structure. It turns out that the Fairfax delegate is, in his off hours from his legislative work, a lawyer at a firm that handles a lot of traffic matters. That, his critics say, puts Albo in a position to profit handsomely from the new fees.

Albo himself defends the abuser fees as a good way to raise state money for transportation improvements--goodness knows we wouldn't want to raise taxes in an open and fair manner--and as a fair tool to wield against the jerks who make driving more dangerous than it ought to be.

"My job as a delegate is to make people slow down and build some roads," Albo told the Post's Tom Jackman. "This bill does both.... It's basically a voluntary tax. If you don't commit a crime on the streets, or run up a huge amount of points, you don't pay anything. We believe its main effect will be to get people to stop driving like maniacs."

This is a bipartisan load: Gov. Tim Kaine said pretty much the same thing yesterday. "I don't have the ability to give driving instructions to 7 1/2 million Virginians, but hopefully the prospect of stiff fines will make people drive right," the guv told WTOP radio.

Ok--I agree with the new law's critics that there's something distasteful and even unfair about smacking the state's own residents with these fees while letting out of state drivers carry on as usual. And I think it's essentially dishonest to rely on sneaky fees like this to raise the money that should be raised with a straightforward tax increase, in this case, by hiking the gas tax.

But Albo is correct about one very important part of this initiative: Confiscatory fees do have a good social impact.
In New Jersey, where similar fees have been on the books since 1983 (though they are imposed on all offenders, no matter whether they live in Jersey), drivers have become more careful--the number of points they've accrued has dropped since the fees were imposed. And in European countries, insanely high fines have helped to reduce drunk driving to levels unimaginable in our country.

If Albo and his fellow legislators were embracing the use of confiscatory fines as a tool of social engineering, I'd be cheering them on. But that does not appear to be the primary motivation here. Rather, what Virginia's Republican legislature sought to do in their last session was to show voters that they were finally taking the transportation mess seriously, and they were going to spend some money. But they couldn't bring themselves to raise taxes in any significant way, so they took the low, sneaky road and created nasty fees like these traffic abuser fees.

It's not an honest way of doing the public's business, and the legislators deserve every bit of the outrage that's now pouring out of Virginia drivers.

By Marc Fisher |  June 27, 2007; 7:52 AM ET
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Comments

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Would a tax increase on Virginians cost them more than out-of-state drivers? Of course. Would a state-wide tax increase finance NoVA roads? No. Like the Dem's last huge tax increase, it would send 75% of our NoVA tax dollars to rural Virginia. You fail to address these realities in your column.

Posted by: Safe Driver | June 27, 2007 8:29 AM

Frankly, these kinds of fines should be the norm nationwide and they should apply to everyone. High speed interstate accidents occur all too often, killing and injurying large numbers of people and causing massive traffic jams. Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post, it is not possible for Virginia to levy these fines to out of state scofflaws, although I'm sure I don't understand the finer points of law that prohibit it.

Until speeding and reckless driving fines are enough to deter the behavior, the fines for traffic violations will simply continue to be additional taxes, paid by drivers who are willing to risk the ticket to get where they are going without regard for their own safety or the safety of others.

Posted by: From Maryland | June 27, 2007 8:42 AM

I don't have too much of a problem with the high fines, but I think they really need to go after the violators in the HOV lanes. You could easily make over $100k a day by targeting HOV violators!

Posted by: Crystal City | June 27, 2007 8:52 AM

Why has it take this long? I live in MD and would welxome that way of raising state funds -

How is this a bad thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 8:54 AM

I disagree with not punishing out of state drivers equally with in-state drivers. But I support the higher penalties. Maybe the motive isn't the best, or honest, as you put it. But I think fines should be high enough to hurt, and high enough to get people to drive more safely. Look at what we have now from years of lax enforcement - a society that expects it's their right to drive 20 or more miles faster than posted speed limits (I've read the comments on the earlier Post stories). The high fines aren't for every type of infraction. What part of reckless driving do people not understand - are they really defending recklessness and drunken driving on the roads?

Posted by: BongHits4Jeebus | June 27, 2007 9:08 AM

I don't have a problem with the fines. You drive responsibly, keep a clean record, and you won't get fined these large amounts.

I also agree with the earlier comment. If VA would get serious about going after HOV violators, they could raise serious money.

Posted by: pinto | June 27, 2007 9:12 AM

Pinto and others, HOV enforcement would be great, but every time the cops pull somebody over, that in itself creates a traffic jam due to road obstruction and rubbernecking. 20 minutes added to your commute.

Posted by: Bill | June 27, 2007 9:21 AM

The article in Metro wasn't very clear on why only Virginians are subject to these abuse fees. It just states Va. doesn't have the authority. Jeez, pass a law and GET the authority! If it's not that simple then why not? If it was subject to all drivers I think there's be a lot less griping. Because when Viriginians respond as the social scientists think, then the expected pool of money won't be there, will it?

Posted by: jeb | June 27, 2007 9:24 AM

I'm no legal expert, but can someone explain to me why the new structure doesn't violate the equal protections clause of the Constitution?

Posted by: Andrew | June 27, 2007 9:25 AM

I'd wager there will be a lawsuit within a year challenging this on Equal Protection grounds (14th Amendment to the US Constitution). Be interesting to see how it goes. The state is claiming that these amounts are not "fines" so as to try to get around the constitutional issue, but we'll see whether the courts take a dim view of this sort of wordplay, given that the "fees" are so closely linked to being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.

Posted by: Rich | June 27, 2007 9:26 AM

Of course, you're getting upset. What you aren't doing is looking at the big picture.

1. Pinto is correct. If more people kept a clean record, obeyed the laws, and drove within reason they would not have to pay extra. BTW, most people would arrive at their destination quicker and less hassled.

2. What you are really missing is a pattern, forced upon the states by federal cutbacks. The Federal Government has cut funds for mandated and/or desirable programs, or programs that would be political suicide to cut. At the same time, they are cutting funds. State governments can't (or won't) raise taxes enough to bring in enough money for the shortfalls. One of the answers is to look on the fringes and add fees that can't realistically be opposed. Gambling is one revenue producer, as is changing sales tax rules. Cutting out or down on the collection fees for retailers, taxing fur clothing while continuing to exempt non fur clothes (you want to lead the protest about the horrid taxes on your wife's new mink coat?), and other such marginal income sources. Individually they may not be a lot of money and may only hurt small groups, but political entities are now in the position of needing to raise more money without seeming to raise taxes.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 27, 2007 9:26 AM

What I would like to see in any "aggressive driving" law/enforcement is equal enforcement of ticketing/fining the fools who go 55 in the left lane. The "rules of the road" dictate that slower drivers keep to the right. If slower drivers did keep to the right, aggressive driving would decrease as there would be no need to zip around them.

True, there will always be the fool wanting to go 90+ MPH and/or drive aggressively but if everybody followed the rules of the road, traffic would be much better.

Posted by: Marylander | June 27, 2007 9:29 AM

In 2004 I was ticketed for going 65 mph in a 45 mph road- in this case it was an Arlington on-ramp onto 395 which is posted at 65 mph. 20 mph over the speed limit was a serious offense, losing points, a fine of something like $500, very serious. I went to court with a map showing the 45 mph highway and the 65 mph highway and had the cop explain where on the on-ramp I was ticketed, the judge scoffed at this ticket, criticized the officer for an unreasonable speed trap and reduced it to 5 miles over, which was something like a $50 fine and no points.

If I would be asked to pay a USER FEE on such an invalid ticket then quite simply, I will not drive in VA. A VA resident told me he regularly got 4-5 moving violations per month at speed traps around the Pentagon and they were always reduced because they were unreasonable. I will never forget his impression of the VA police: "A GED and a Gun."

Posted by: DCer | June 27, 2007 9:31 AM

The fines are unconstitutional see Equal Protection. Civil fines need to apply to all drivers from all states. NJ collects them from all drivers.

On the other hand the Repubiicans need to get a set and not hide tax increases as civil fines. Most traffic enforcement is done for revenue enhancement not safety.
DUI and other alcohol offenses excluded form this.

The court clerks are complaining about not having the manpower to collect the fines. And my lawyer friends in Va refer to it as the 2007 Full Employment Act for Lawyers. Another reason to send them all to GITMO.

So what happens if the the fines dont meet the revenue projections or are unconstitutional? Where will the money for roads come from? I dont ahve a problem with a gas tax increase of a couple of cents as long as it stays in NOVA and deosnt go south to Richmond! Chances are the civil fines will not meet meet the projections.

Kill all the lawyers

Posted by: vaherder | June 27, 2007 9:34 AM

yet another reason not to live in the Commonfilth of Virginia

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 9:39 AM

How can Albo be unchallenged as a Fairfax Republican? Seems stupid of the state democrats.

Posted by: xtr657 | June 27, 2007 9:48 AM

So what is it Mark?? All of these quotes are directly from your article

Ok--I agree with the new law's critics that there's something distasteful and even unfair about smacking the state's own residents with these fees while letting out of state drivers carry on as usual. And I think it's essentially dishonest to rely on sneaky fees like this to raise the money that should be raised with a straightforward tax increase, in this case, by hiking the gas tax.

But Albo is correct about one very important part of this initiative: Confiscatory fees do have a good social impact.

(flip-flop number 1) so do you support this or not????

Then in typical fashion Fisher bashes the Republicans in the second half of the post while also quoting Kaine who SUPPORTED THE FREAKING BILL

"This is a bipartisan load: Gov. Tim Kaine said pretty much the same thing yesterday. "I don't have the ability to give driving instructions to 7 1/2 million Virginians, but hopefully the prospect of stiff fines will make people drive right," the guv told WTOP radio."

nice job Marc heaven forbid you would actually bash Kaine as well

and people wonder why the post circulation is going down

Posted by: Fisher is an idiot | June 27, 2007 9:48 AM

Apparently all of those clamoring above that if you "drive responsibly" you have nothing to worry about have never encountered Farfax's Finest in action... you also operate on the presumption that the police are honest. Turning the cops into pure revenue collectors has an inherent problem, why write the +10 MPH speeding ticket, when for +20 the state gets 10 times as much... see the issue? I wonder if officer bonuses will be issued for the most "reckless" citations written...

Posted by: nocando | June 27, 2007 9:49 AM

The reason the fees only apply to Virginia residents is due to the fact that, under the Virginia Constitution, traffic fines collected by the State have to go to the Literary Fund, which goes to our schools. In order for that money to go to transportation, you'd either have to change the Virginia Constitution or have civil remedial fees. Since these fees are assessed only to habitually bad or extremely reckless drivers, they are based on demerit points. Virginia can't assess demerit points to drivers from other states. That's why it only affects Virginia residents.

Reckless drivers are responsible for an estimated 25% of congestion on Virginia highways. So instead of charging all Virginians hundreds of extra dollars a year in taxes, we make those who are responsible for the congestion pay.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 9:55 AM

"Reckless drivers are responsible for an estimated 25% of congestion on Virginia highways."

Source or VDOT study for that quote? Or is that pulled directly out of your @ss?

VA is one of the few states that defines "reckless" so broadly, such that anything over 80, or +20, is instantaneously "reckless".

HOV violators - that I can see being 25%.

Posted by: Source? | June 27, 2007 10:00 AM

I'd be surprised if Maryland doesn't ape this smarmy and cowardly tax increase at their next opportunity.

Bullies and petty tyrants love to pick on those whom no one will defend. And no one wants to be painted as defending bad driving.

Posted by: gitarre | June 27, 2007 10:04 AM

Well, this should convince the remaining holdouts that traffic violations are no longer about safety (if they ever were), but solely a source of revenue generation. I expect we'll soon see speed limits drop from their already artificially-low levels even further, to make sure they can collect their extortions from as many people as possible.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 10:04 AM

"VA is one of the few states that defines 'reckless' so broadly, such that anything over 80, or +20, is instantaneously 'reckless.'"

This is a real problem as the speed limit is raised. Last year the General Assembly enacted a law allowing a 70-mph speed limit on I-85. (I do not know whether they ever posted the 70-mph signs, though.) Yet 80 mph is still reckless by statute, so a lousy 10 mph over can get you a reckless on that road.

Posted by: Rich | June 27, 2007 10:15 AM

This is another fine example of the conflict of interest I see in almost all politicians.

1. Most, but not all, politicians are lawyers.
2. Politicians create the laws - Representatives/Senators draft and pass laws, then Governors/Presidents approve the laws as created by the Representatives/Senators.
3. Politicians leave office and return to their law practice's to take advantage of the laws they created.

How do we eliminate this problem? Maybe the politicians need to give up their license to practice law before they are allowed to pass laws.

Posted by: SoMD | June 27, 2007 10:22 AM

Read the list at http://www.courts.state.va.us/publications/hb_3202.pdf

There is a lot there that is not "driving like a maniac" whatever that is. Like, UNAUTHORIZED USE OF MOTOR VEHICLE - MISDEMEANOR, ENTER/SET IN MOTION VEHICLE, DRIVE WITHOUT LICENSE ENDORSEMENT(S), LEARNER'S PERMIT VIOLATION, RD - FAIL TO GIVE PROPER SIGNAL - MISDEMEANOR, RD - FAIL TO GIVE PROPER SIGNAL - FELONY (How can this be a felony?) or OBSCENE VIDEO IMAGE VISIBLE OUTSIDE VEHICLE

Posted by: Stick | June 27, 2007 10:45 AM

I prefer the old days when out-of-state tags meant a ticket, a trip before a judge and at least few nights in jail if you were a g.d. Yankee. And that was the Welcome Wagon.

Posted by: Jacknut | June 27, 2007 10:48 AM

The bill seems like a win-win proposition on both safe driving and road construction. The fact that there's an apparent conflict-of-interest with some delegates doesn't make it a lose-lose proposition all of a sudden. Just add a provision to open the contract for the collection firms again.

Posted by: cpw | June 27, 2007 10:54 AM

First we whine, "Can't somebody do something to stop these terrible drivers?" Then somebody says, "Hit 'em where it hurts. That'll stop 'em." So the law's changed to hit 'em where it hurts. And then we whine, "Oh, dear, that sounds pretty unfair!" Can't have it both ways, folks.

Posted by: Billy | June 27, 2007 10:55 AM

Maryland,

Sorry the interstates are the safest roads you travel by a long shot. Deaths on the interstate are rare even with the higher speeds. And remember speed doesnt kill but driving too fast for conditions does. You can be doing 10mph in a very heavy thunderstorm and it can be too fast.

Posted by: vaherder | June 27, 2007 11:00 AM

Perhaps I'm missing something, but if Del. Albo and others with similar views have my vehicular safety utmost in their minds, why did I have to learn about the issue through the papers and my local motorcycle club?

Why not just raise the fines for various infractions and inform every Commonwealth driver of the fine structure well in advance of their implementation? The actions would be transparent and open to debate. This wasn't done because it's about the CASH! The state and some well connected law firms, including attorney general Bob McDonnell's former firm, gain new/enhanced revenue streams and their political surrogates in Richmond get re-election funds. It's a nice arrangement.

Posted by: Scott | June 27, 2007 11:03 AM

Also, most accidents are caused when drivers are above OR BELOW the flow of traffic

For all of you holier than thoughs going 55 on the beltway YOU are just as at fault as the people going 80+

Posted by: And | June 27, 2007 11:05 AM

The biggest problem with this situation is the whole concept of a "voluntary tax." What in the world is that? The people who support the higher fees are the same ones who support red light and speed cameras, and assume that all driving citations are never given in error. Sure there are tons of drivers out there who break the law, but there are also a lot of drivers out there who are given tickets unfairly, in error, or because of a simple mistake. We are all human and make mistakes from time to time, but a mistake that used to cost us $100 now will cost us $2000, COME ON!!! Does anyone here have $2000 sitting around for the one time you're driving down a deserted interstate at 2 AM and loose track of your speed?

I also question the link of reckless and unsafe driving to increased congestion and required highway maintenance. Slow, timid drivers are just as dangerous, and are even more likely to impede traffic flow. The only effects to congestion that reckless driving has are when there is an accident or if the offending driver is pulled over, drawing attention from rubber-neckers.

Additionally, from a judicial side, more judges are now going to be more sympathetic to the reckless drivers knowing that most people cannot afford the exorbitant fines. That means that someone who should have their licesnse suspended or have to attend a training class will now be back on the road with a reduced point and fine violation.

I'm in total support of increased safety on our roads, but as with red light and speed cameras, hiding financial gains behind the cloak of safety is pathetic, and just goes to show the true nature of our elected officials, and how they look to line their own pockets before considering the well-being of their constituents. Also, this "voluntary tax," assumes that there will be continue violations. What happens if these fines do have a significant impact, and the number of violators is decreased? Legislators are assuming and counting on lawbreakers for a source of revenue, that's just great! If the state wanted to raise revenue through "voluntary taxes," why not modestly increase fines across the board, and take that increase to apply towards road maintenance?

Posted by: Russtinator | June 27, 2007 11:12 AM

I suppose those who welcome these fines assume it will only be applied to those scumbuckets who swerve band-and-forth three lanes at a time on two wheels going 120 mph. But do you realise how easy it is to go more than 20 over the speed limit on a highway, the standard for "reckless driving"? I will guess that only a saintly few, and those who drive Peugots, have never gone 76 in a 55 zone at least once in a while. So do you think you should be on the hook for $1,000 if you are unlucky enough to be caught?

Posted by: Paul | June 27, 2007 11:13 AM

Unless the VA State troopers and your local VA LE have changed their SOP they dont start writing tickets until you are 12mph above the posted speed limit. School zones and construction zones are exempt from this.

And I am sorry a HOV violation should never be a moving violation no matter how
many times they ticket you for it!

HOV is unconstitutional too!

Posted by: vaherder | June 27, 2007 11:24 AM

All of these posters in support of this law are obviously not seeing the point here. Yes, this law will likely improve safety on the roads. However, this law is not designed to improve safety, it is written to MAKE MONEY. If the state wanted to make money, why don't they just ask the taxpayers if they're willing to pay it? Instead, they go behind our back and come up with some phoney-baloney excuse for this "voluntary tax." Conflict of interest aside, this law IS NOT ABOUT SAFETY. The state is hoping that people continue to break the law so that they can cover their budget increases. If they aren't making enough money off these increases, they'll up the fines more, or find other violations to increase fines on, perhaps a law you don't even know you're breaking like changing lanes in an intersection or having a brake light out.

Again, this law is NOT about improving safety on the road, it's about MONEY. If you don't believe it, just read every single article written about it, and you'll see that EVERY quote from a politican mentions the financial benefit from this law. If the state truly wanted to make the roads safer, there would be increased fines across the board for all moving violations, but the cornerstone of a safety-driven policy would be represented in increased points and penalties (license suspensions, revocations, and vehicle impounds) for ALL drivers.

Posted by: Russtinator | June 27, 2007 11:25 AM

If you can't pay the fine, don't step out of line.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 11:26 AM

I suppose those who welcome these fines assume it will only be applied to those scumbuckets who swerve band-and-forth three lanes at a time on two wheels going 120 mph. But do you realise how easy it is to go more than 20 over the speed limit on a highway, the standard for "reckless driving"? I will guess that only a saintly few, and those who drive Peugots, have never gone 76 in a 55 zone at least once in a while. So do you think you should be on the hook for $1,000 if you are unlucky enough to be caught?
------

I want to reiterate in the case of my Virginia ticket that the judge criticized the cop to his face that setting up a speed trap on an on-ramp to a 65 mph highway was wrong and his ticket was reduced for me. People should not go around thinking that these tickets are legitimate. There are cops setting up speed traps with all the logic of the DC Judge suing for $54 million pants. Sure, we must respect a judge, but respect the Pants Judge? Is this anything more than the pants judge?

Posted by: DCer | June 27, 2007 11:38 AM

"If you can't pay the fine, don't step out of line."

That's really mature...I guess I should assume South Loudonian has NEVER been pulled over for a moving violation, and always follows posted signs regardless of traffic around them or conditions. I guarantee if I were to sit in a car with any of these "high and mighty" law abiders that I can find something that they're doing illegally in the span of a single 1-hour excursion. Not only that, a number of traffic laws are ambiguous and contradictory, a few even that are subject to these abuser fees.

Every driver makes mistakes (I'm a driving instructor, so I'm subject to their mistakes every day), and people like South Loudonian need to get off their high horse and think about the consequenses when it's them having to shell out thousands of dollars because they made a mistake or their teenage son or daughter made an error in judgement. If we don't want to "step out of line," we should all just get out of our cars, which means South Loudonian is probably out of a job.

Posted by: Arlington | June 27, 2007 11:42 AM

The $1,050 fine covers minor offenses like changing lanes without using your signal. Outrageous. There are many roads where the speed limit is only 25 mph but the natural traffic flow is over 40 so it would be easy to be charged with reckless driving.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 12:05 PM

This law stinks to high heaven. The problem is that on I-95 between here and Richmond, driven by tons of out-of-staters, the going speed is often 85 mph in all three lanes. The locals will have to either become major hindrances to the flow of traffic or risk major fines trying to not get run over by everyone else.

Also, there will be chaos in the courts as every ticket will now go to trial in an attempt to contest and avoid these exorbitant fees.

Grow a pair and raise the gas tax or something.

Posted by: NM in Alexandria | June 27, 2007 12:22 PM

just curious, is there anything that us plain ol' citizens can do to repeal this other than through a court case?

like others on here have said - i'm all about safe roads, but the justification for this is lousy. and del. albo being a traffic law lawyer? can you say "conflict of interest"?

Posted by: whattodo | June 27, 2007 12:35 PM

This is just another reason NoVa should be it's own state. They are trying to raise more of OUR money for THEIR gain. If all the money raised by NoVa offenders would stay in the county of the offense, large fees (but reasonable - see the on-ramp ticket story above) might be a good idea. I really hate to see our money going to someone else.

I also hate to see legislation written so poorly. Why can't lawmakers be clear in what they pass?? This looks like a high school essay that was written 20 minutes before it was due in class.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 12:36 PM

This is ridiculous. To all those saying, "Just drive safe and you won't get fined," you forget one small thing. If everyone drives safe, then not enough fines will be collected to fund road projects and we're right back where we started budgetarily: not enough money for roads.

Ah, but if we don't have enough money, then maybe some sharp young bureaucrat will order the police to beat the bushes and "get" enough violations. Forget about fairness, at least then we can have troopers randomly picking money off of trees.

And the utter barbaric regressiveness of the fines is repulsive and undemocratic. A $3,000 fine could cripple a hard-working family living downstate on $36,000 a year, while a rich McLean family of two lawyers making $500,000 a year could write that check in his sleep. The fine structure is brutally unfair to most of us.

That's why old fashioned jail time is so democratic: 90 days is 90 days regardless of whether you're rich or poor. That's why the way European fine structures (as a percentage of income) are more fair too.

Posted by: Brendan | June 27, 2007 12:39 PM

Arlington: A might tetchy, are we?

My comment was nothing but a play on the old expression, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

Get over yourself.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 12:52 PM

I am shocked that DC didn't think of this first and apply it to their commuter tax program, eh I mean their parking enforcement program. How about a $1000 abuser fee for overstaying a meter by more than one hour? Double that if you were stupid enough to park at a broken meter and thought that a "broken meter" sign would stop you from getting a ticket!

Posted by: Virginia | June 27, 2007 1:04 PM

Uhhh, a broken meter does mean that you can park without getting paying or getting a ticket. It is the city's responsibility for keeping meters working, and they cannot reduce the number of street parking spots because of failed meters.

Posted by: NW | June 27, 2007 1:07 PM

A big thank you to the poster who posted the rational why out of staters cannot be assessed the new "fines". Since this is now an end run around not only the United States Constitution but also the Commonwealth's I cannot wait until this law's constitutionality is challenged.

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the mountains outside of Stanton and was driven on the new "bypass" around Stanton. We cannot get funding to build infrastructure in NOVA, where more than two million live, yet Stanton gets a divided, multi-lane, no at grade intersection, highway built around it with a population of less than 100,000 people. Unbelievable!

My fellow northern Virginians, if this inequity incenses you then you need to have a conversation with your state representatives about who gets your support in the next election.

Posted by: 20th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW | June 27, 2007 1:10 PM

The reason that the law applies only to Virginians, from what I understand, is that the fines relate to renewing your driver's license - something out of staters don't have to worry about in Virginia. If you get a violation in another state and don't pay it, it won't affect your ability to renew your Virginia license. So if out of staters get one of a violation in Virginia, they can get away without paying it and it won't affect renewal of their home state driver's license.

Posted by: NAC | June 27, 2007 1:19 PM

"A $3,000 fine could cripple a hard-working family living downstate on $36,000 a year, while a rich McLean family of two lawyers making $500,000 a year could write that check in his sleep. The fine structure is brutally unfair to most of us."

So, now the rich should feel guilty that they are rich??? You can't make a fine different for different income levels. It has to be the same for the violation no matter who committed the crime.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 1:31 PM

"Get over yourself."

So I guess you can afford these new fines South Loudonian? My point was not just directed at you, but everyone who has this "serves them right" attitude towards traffic enforcement.

No matter how many times an officer says it, when you are given that citation, you are presumed guilty. Entering a court of law, an officer's statements are 10-times more powerful than anything any driver can say or any evidence they can present to contradict an officer. Additionally, this law is based on the fact that we are human and make mistakes. The state is counting on us to make mistakes, and they will be there, holding out their hand to count their thousands upon thousands of dollars. If you don't mind paying thousands of dollars for a mistake South Loudonian, go right ahead, but I would prefer getting a modest fine and instruction on how to prevent that mistake from happening again, not this tactic that Virginia is using to SCARE us from contributing to transit.

Posted by: Arlington | June 27, 2007 1:31 PM

What a bunch of whiners in Virginia, a normally law-and-order state. I've driven for 20 years, 200K+ miles, and have only received one speeding ticket. From my experience, if you're driving 20+ MPH over the limit, you're in the minority. If you don't want to pay the fine, don't break the law.

If your child is driving that fast, then you should have taught them better and have them pay the fine. If they hurt or kill somebody (or get hurt themselves), it will cost a lot more than $2K. Just two weeks ago, four young people who were killed on the Beltway.

For DCer who had the story about the friend who received 4-5 tickets per month by the Pentagon, the story is very suspect. Logic would have it that the person would slow down after 1 or 2 tickets.

Posted by: Maryland | June 27, 2007 1:31 PM

"but I would prefer getting a modest fine and instruction on how to prevent that mistake from happening again"

You need instructions?? OK.

DON'T SPEED.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE

Need more instructions?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 1:33 PM

I wish they could fine vaherder $1,000 every time he says something stupid in one of his posts, and $2,000 every time it contains a GITMO reference.

Posted by: idiotherder | June 27, 2007 1:36 PM

"You can't make a fine different for different income levels."

Why not? Why can't a fine be equavalent to a percentage of your gross adjusted income, instead of some arbitrary value? If this is indeed a "tax," then it should be a percentage of income, and that percentage should vary based on how much you make...So just like normal income taxes, the rich pay more than the poor.

The rich shouldn't feel guilty that they are rich. They should just feel guilty because they can bear the burdon of these ridiculous fines much easier than somone with a lower income. Why should someone be "taxed" of 10% of their income for a moving violation when a rich person is only "taxed" 2%. Let's call a spade a spade, and agree with the legislature that this is a "tax," and if such, should be administered fairly to all citizens.

Posted by: Fairfax | June 27, 2007 1:39 PM

The primary beneficiaries of this terrible fiasco will be the shyster lawyetrs and collection agencies that will be harrassing people for money under threat of lawsuits and ruined credit.

All the more reason to use a radar detector.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 27, 2007 1:39 PM

Shame on VA Republicans, in particular. After all their chest-thumping about eliminating, or at least reducing, the "Car Tax," then forcing annual showdowns with Govs. Warner and Kaine to prevent any taxes being raised to fund transportation, they sneak in this ludicrous "voluntary tax." I know Kaine voiced his support, but during the budget debate he at least had the fortitude to stand up and say the states need more revenue, only to be hooted down by the GOP majority legislature.

Posted by: Paul | June 27, 2007 1:44 PM

Hey arlington, I'd prefer a bouquet of roses myself.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 1:44 PM

Let's assume that the threat of high fines (or, "assessments")reduces misbehavior on the highway. That will result in lower revenues to the state, requiring yet another tax increase.

My feeling is that the state should allow Fairfax and other municipalities to do to travelers from other jurisdictions what is done to us when we visit: 25 percent taxes on car rentals and hotels. Other cities get out of towners to fund their stadiums, why can't we get out of towners to fund our roads?

Posted by: Annandale | June 27, 2007 1:46 PM

Couple of questions:

1) What's the cite for the "reckless drivers cause 25% of all congestion on our roads?" A scholarly study? Or the Journal of I-Made-It-Up-Out-Of-Thin-Air? Just curious. If you're going to toss around stats, at least let us know where they are from so that we can form an opinion on their validity.

2) This is quite possibly the most regressive "tax" plan I have ever seen. It hits those with the least ability to pay the hardest. And I don't quite understand why 1/3 of the amount is due prior to leaving the courtroom. That seems excessive.

3) Marc, I feel that you were somewhat remiss in not mentioning (as previous stories on this have) the very real possibility that judges will take pity on drivers and lower or eliminate fines, which go to counties and cities, knowing that drivers will be smacked with huge fees. But the fees will go exclusively to the state, potentially starving localities of add'l revenue and just passing the tax-raising buck on down the line as they to find ways to fill the holes in their budgets.

4) And while we're talking about budgets, what will the impact be on local courts that may see a HUGE increase in the number of cases heard as more and more people chose to contest tickets? Will it create a logjam at traffic court? Will that cost money in lost time, add'l judges, overtime for bailiffs, and God knows what else?

It seems if the state wants to A) increase school funding (if these fees are required to go to schools) or B) free up general revenue for roads by increasing dedicated funds for schools, there are other, more honest and aboveboard ways to go about it.

Posted by: Bob Turney | June 27, 2007 1:47 PM

An analogous scheme would be to simply reduce the threshold for license revocation (which one could not impose on out-of-staters), but then offer an exorbitant price to buy your license back (which one also could not impose on out-of-staters). That is essentially all this is doing.

Then the question would be, why is it easier to lose your license in VA? And the answer would be that it's the state's perogative.

As the aim is two social goods, and that the plan is logical, I do not understand why this even being debated. Oh yeah, it must be because bad drivers are rabid maniacs.

Posted by: joe | June 27, 2007 1:47 PM

"We cannot get funding to build infrastructure in NOVA, where more than two million live, "

NOVA DID have a chance to fund their own roads in the form a a penny sales tax in 2002. They voted it down, thanks to enviro-nuts and ant-tax zealots.

This "fee" nonsense may very well be a consequence of that vote. After all, there's no fee luch.

"yet Stanton gets a divided, multi-lane, no at grade intersection, highway built around it with a population of less than 100,000 people. Unbelievable!"

Not unbelievable when you take into account the fact that "local opposition" from a few small vocal and well-organized interest groups killed most of NOVA's planned highways and curtailed others. This is why NOVA has no outer bypass and why I-66 actually shrinks from 6 lanes to 4 as it nears a major city (DC). This happened while the general public sat back and LET it happen.

I once had a conversation with a former VDOT manager who told me that the local opposition in NOVA and the failure of politicians and the public to curtail it convinced VDOT that NOVA didn't WANT new roads. We messed it up for ourselves.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 27, 2007 1:49 PM

So when did you pass the bar??? Would you like an ocean or bay view from your cell, punk! Or maybe we will force you to watch Ann Coulter torment Chrissie Matthews with her gams! Over and over! Bet Kathleen has him sleeping on the couch for the rest of the summer. The wrinkles were out of his slacks!

Posted by: idiotherder | June 27, 2007 1:51 PM

I hope that those who agree with the spirit of these fees (which I don't) will agree that this was a very underhanded way of introducing a law that could have a substantial impact on a lot of people's lives. We in NOVA always hear how the ROVA delegates hold the legislature hostage. I don't see how the ROVA mafia let this get through, since it will probably affect their lower-income, more rural (i.e., more driving) constituents disproportionately.

And one more thing, I just hate the logic that says, this will just affect other people than me so it is a good law.

Posted by: T Paine | June 27, 2007 1:54 PM

Sounds like a bunch of people in Virginia are admitting what we in Maryland and all up and down the east coast have know for a while, which is that you guys can't drive for crap! And instead of becoming better drivers, they whine about the fees they'll have to pay to keep driving like idiots. No wonder everyone sends their trash to you guys!

Posted by: Red Liner | June 27, 2007 1:55 PM

For the people who continue to cry about this new law, there's a very simple solution: STOP SPEEDING AROUND LIKE A BUNCH OF IDIOT JERKS!!!

Relax on the road. Stop tailgating and passing. Stop weaving and darting. Take some deep breaths. Leave a little earlier. And don't drink and drive for god's sake!

Who cares what people from other states do. If they speed and drive aggressively, they'll eventually get what's coming to them.

Posted by: Gerd T. | June 27, 2007 2:04 PM

Let's place the blame for this where it belongs. On politicians unwilling to do what's right for VA. Do you think the money raised is adequate to fund our transportation probs ? Is borrowing money not a tax ? And why should we not find a way to tax out of state drivers to pay for the roads they use. I pay out the you know what when I drive from here to NJ on 95. I hope the politicians are held accountable at election time and remember it is the Repubs that have controlled the checkbook in VA for quite a while now.

Posted by: Stafford | June 27, 2007 2:06 PM

Sorry, South Loudounian, but I agree w/ Arlington. It's no secret that many jurisdictions (City of Falls Church, for one) already actively use traffic stops as a way to raise cash. And, as others have noted, even safe/careful drivers can get caught up in the messy situations caused by traffic, construction, bad signage, etc. The police will be using every excuse possible to meet their quotas under the new system--trapping people who may never before have had a moving violation.

Those readers who point out that this is about money, rather than public safety, have hit the nail on the head. BTW, assuming this thing gets passed/survives a court challenge (and I'm not so sure it will), does anyone doubt that enforcement will be aimed at NoVa, the state's cash cow?

Posted by: Fairfax | June 27, 2007 2:06 PM

For me, there may be room for improvement in some of the laws, but overall, I'm all for it - in concept; raise money and increase safety - let's do it. Sure, there is a chance a policeman may make an error in judgment, and I may have to go to court to keep my 28 year spotless driving record clean, but if it straightens up just a few IDIOTS who can't use there turn signal when they turn because their phone is in their left hand glued to their ear, then I'll happily take that risk!
Born and raised in NVa; the traffic problem/roads need a lot of help, and distracted/careless/bad drivers are out of control.
And, come on now, who doesn't know when they exceeded the speed limit by 10 or 20 -to face a reckless driving fine - the distracted driver, that's who!
Some say they would actually rather move to another state - where breaking the law has little or no consequences; do you really want that kind of a person for a neighbor anyway? Not me.

Posted by: NVa native | June 27, 2007 2:07 PM

First (though I live in MD) I agree with those various points on the unfairness of this. I also think that these kind of policies are the wrong way of thinking about our transit infrastructure problems in the DC area. Rather than using money to expand highways and using dubious methods for collecting the money to fund them the answer is to stop building new roads altogether, find a tax to discourage local driving in general and expand mass transit. Highway construction is never going to be able to outpace the DC area's growing population and no matter how many creative ways state governments can come up with to shake down drivers congestion is going to get worse and worse. Its why in Maryland we're much more likely to get this "inter county connector" highway thats capacity will be obsolete in just a few years before we can get the Maryland part of the fabled purple metro line which would significantly reduce the number of people on the beltway from PG and counties north trying to get to areas where many work in Montgomery county.

Posted by: Some Idiot | June 27, 2007 2:08 PM

The main reason for this law is that Republican and their yahoo Democratic allies have been making a living for years on not rasing the STATE INCOME TAX (as a Marylander, I say come on you VA cheapskates, we need more people to pay our higher taxes on income!) Sales Taxes are a tax on the poor (my Democratic liberal soul frowns on that, do not know why the Republicans also do so), so the Republican Majority cleveraly joined their perchant for meddling in people's personal lives with the need to raise (the horror, the horror!) revenue.

Marc what is sneaky about this revenue measure as opposed to a state income raise. This was debated in the legistature, written about in the papers, and howeled about by the Public (as always is the way with VA whiners)just as a income tax would have been. Nothing sneaky about it.

Posted by: A Hardwick | June 27, 2007 2:14 PM

Want to raise money from criminal driving? Okay by me - just increase the penalties ON ALL CRIMINAL DRIVERS, not just the ones who reside in Virginia. Could this be any more obvious?

Of course, it's likely that such a plan will fail to accurately predict both revenue and cost. Revenue, since most people who would be subject to such punitive fines will alter their behavior; cost, because a few who didn't before will flee the police, inevitably leading to the deaths of innocents.

.

Posted by: Leedsichthys | June 27, 2007 2:21 PM

I don't have a problem with the fines as far as they go, but unless they apply to all offenders, they're useless from a safety standpoint, they're no more than a token effort from a revenue standpoint--except, of course, for Mr. Albo's law practice--and they are constitutionally suspect under the Fourteenth Amendment, which will probably further augment Albo's practice.

For all of those, including myself, who would rejoice at the prospect of huge fines for the next jerk who blows your doors off, just remember: if that jerk is from Maryland (or anywhere else other than Virginia--I guess that includes illegal immigrants), he's exempt under this law.

Posted by: jazzyndn | June 27, 2007 2:24 PM

There was no guarantee with the proposed 1 cent a gallon increase that all the money raised in NOVA would stay there. That is one of the reasons it was voted down. Currently less 25 cents of every tax dollar NOVA send to Richmond is returned in services or cash. That is why it was voted won.

Posted by: vaherder | June 27, 2007 2:24 PM

To clarify my previous point a little bit better, what I mean to say is that the entire country and particularly this area needs to drop our car fetishes because the way things are now is totally unsustainable. We have to either accept this and change or be prepared to spend even more time in traffic (and apparently now in some places being charged outrageous amounts for it).

Posted by: Some Idiot | June 27, 2007 2:25 PM

you know what Fairfax? My initial comment was nothing but a joke, as I explained, but the more I see the posts from people like you and Arlington, the more pleased I am with this development.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 2:37 PM

A wise man or woman once said the only punishment for crime is absolute punishment. How many people in Thailand spit their gum out in the street when they know they will be caned in public for it?

Same holds true here. The more severe the punishment the more likely you will be more careful about your speed. This way only the offenders are being punished. In my mind, as someone that doesn't speed, this doesn't affect me and I get better roads? Sure, why not! The only question I have is why stop at traffic offenses? Why not mandate similarly strict laws for drug and violent offenders?

Just my .02

Posted by: VA Driver | June 27, 2007 2:44 PM

Yes, I share with others the incredible exasperation at the new civil abuser driving fees in VA. These are just ridiculous and purely mean-spirited, and I hope that the citizens of the state will join in having them removed. The foul instigators of this program seem to forget that one tenet of our legal system, which encourages people to obey the law in the first place, is that punishments are seen to fit the crime, and not simply be a source of greedy financial gain for the government (who only remain in office by consent of the governed).

I hope that the legislators behind this misbegotten initiative will have their names and pictures splashed all over the Internet, so that Virginians will know who to hold accountable for this miscarriage of justice--and then officially remove them from office.

Posted by: J Molay | June 27, 2007 2:44 PM

I drive a 2006 5 Series BMW and live in Virginia. Sucks to be a poor person these days.

Posted by: AC | June 27, 2007 2:46 PM

I just love all the sanctimony from people like South Loudounian, the very people who are the immediate causes of all the congestion in Northern Virginia. People like South Loudounian who think they have a God-given right to 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and a quarter acre, and don't mind commuting 40 miles each way to have their "slice of heaven", all the while clogging all roads all the time from Gainsville, Dumfries or Purcellville on into town. I'd like nothing better than to see the price of fuel go to $5.00 per gallon so people like South Loundounian can feel pain at the pump.

I was one of the minority who voted for the sales tax increase for NoVA, because I figured that half a loaf was better than none. Those of you who now complain about the state of local roads, yet who voted against the sales tax, look in the mirror if you want to blame someone. If anyone else in NoVA wants us to secede, count me in.

Cops will be encouraged to write more tickets and to skew the citations towads revenue-producing charges. State courts will be clogged with defendents who find it cost-effective to contest their tickets. The only people who mwill benefit from the new civil taxes are people like Dave Albo, who will have a line of clients out the door.

Those of you who say, "If you drive safely, you have nothing to fear," must be the same 27% or so of the lobotomized electorate who still support the Bush Administration. I wouldn't rely on the judgment of you people as to which dishwashing deergent I should by, much less your opinion on matters of public policy, public finance and public safety.

I hope all you sactimonious posters get tagged by the new law, so I can chant, "If you drive safely, you have nothing to fear."

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 2:47 PM

I just love all the sanctimony from people like South Loudounian, the very people who are the immediate causes of all the congestion in Northern Virginia. People like South Loudounian who think they have a God-given right to 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and a quarter acre, and don't mind commuting 40 miles each way to have their "slice of heaven", all the while clogging all roads all the time from Gainsville, Dumfries or Purcellville on into town. I'd like nothing better than to see the price of fuel go to $5.00 per gallon so people like South Loundounian can feel pain at the pump.

I was one of the minority who voted for the sales tax increase for NoVA, because I figured that half a loaf was better than none. Those of you who now complain about the state of local roads, yet who voted against the sales tax, look in the mirror if you want to blame someone. If anyone else in NoVA wants us to secede, count me in.

Cops will be encouraged to write more tickets and to skew the citations towads revenue-producing charges. State courts will be clogged with defendents who find it cost-effective to contest their tickets. The only people who mwill benefit from the new civil taxes are people like Dave Albo, who will have a line of clients out the door.

Those of you who say, "If you drive safely, you have nothing to fear," must be the same 27% or so of the lobotomized electorate who still support the Bush Administration. I wouldn't rely on the judgment of you people as to which dishwashing detergent I should by, much less your opinion on matters of public policy, public finance and public safety.

I hope all you sactimonious posters get tagged by the new law, so I can chant, "If you drive safely, you have nothing to fear."

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 2:48 PM

If these fees improve driver safety, then how is the state going to raise the needed money for transportation improvements?

QUOTAS, anyone?

Posted by: Lily | June 27, 2007 2:54 PM

Actually, Monsieur Methane, I have a half-acre, four bathrooms, and my commute is just 15 miles each way. I'm far too cool to live in some burg like Gainesville, Dumfries, or Purcellville. And further, I commute after rush hour, so I'm not the source of any congestion at all.

So eat me.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 2:56 PM

I would not hang much of a hat on these civil remediation fees being unconstitutional. If declared so they would just change the law to apply to out of staters and work out a reciprocity agreement. Since when is it unconstitutional to treat residents different than non-residents?

As for the constant whiney refrain about the disparity in tax flows among regions, hello that is what a state government is supposed to do. You know, manage things for the benefit of the entire STATE. I'd like to hear what other states do; I'm sure the NYC residents whine about upstaters and Bostonians cry the blues about the situation as well.

Posted by: Stick | June 27, 2007 3:02 PM

15 miles each way is still a lot

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 3:04 PM

Anybody who thinks that people from MD, PA, NY or NJ know how to drive must be someone who can drive like Mario Andretti when on a straight interstate with no traffic but is reduced to a lurching, crawling, brake-stabbing, indecisive mess whenever the road gets a little curvy or there are any other cars around.

Posted by: Stick | June 27, 2007 3:15 PM

it's a far cry from 40

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 3:15 PM

No Doubt, Stick, you're point is well-taken. Indeed it IS the State Government's job to distribute resources for the benefit of the entire state. Our "whiney refrain" is meant to make the case that an unused eight-lane highway in rural Virginia does not produce the economic growth to fund rural and sub-urban schools, etc. like an adequate road in economically thriving Northern Virginia does.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 3:16 PM

i hope the presence of a cell phone within reach of the driver leads to more reckless driving citations.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 3:16 PM

I have to agree with Brendan. This law is geared toward increasing the gap between Virginia's rich and poor class. It's the people that live on the fringe of poverty who will be affected the most. Sadly, politics is driven by greed and corruption. The losers in all this are the lower class of society. Those who make an honest living, trying to make ends meet, are the ones who have to most to lose here. It saddens me to see politicians continue to line their pockets, while the poor fall deeper into poverty. Where's the justice in that?

Posted by: ViennaResident | June 27, 2007 3:20 PM

South Loudounian, after another display of sanctimony, commands:

"So eat me."

You seem to have confused me with an organism that eats chicken manure.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:29 PM

South Loudounian, after another display of sanctimony, commands:

"So eat me."

You seem to have confused me with an organism that eats chicken manure.

Je pete dans la votre direction.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:29 PM

South Loudounian - mayhaps thou struck a nerve?

Methinks many of the posters flaming you have (1) no sense of humor, (2) a serious case of road-rage developing or (3) are so mental they have combined #'s 1 & 2 and claim it is a acceptable personality.

My back is now turned ... insert knife here.

Posted by: SoMD | June 27, 2007 3:30 PM

"It's the people that live on the fringe of poverty who will be affected the most. Sadly, politics is driven by greed and corruption. The losers in all this are the lower class of society. Those who make an honest living, trying to make ends meet, are the ones who have to most to lose here."

You are not the first to post a statement like this. How is this the case? Do poor/low income people speed more than rich? The law only negatively impacts the poor if they get in trouble. Who knows, maybe the rich actually get drive more recklessly than the poor? Then everything would fine wouldn't it?

Posted by: va bike commuter | June 27, 2007 3:31 PM

Glad I don't live in VA. Not cause of the tax but because it is the biggest whiny baby state in the Union. Wahhh! My roads are clogged. Wahhh! Why are you taxing me? Wahhh! Fix my roads? Wahhh! Why do I have to pay taxes? Wahhhh!

VA residents are the biggest "I want something for nothing" whiners. They're bigger whiners than people in South Carolina or even Orange County, CA conservatives. You deserve clogged roads. Hooray for MD!

Posted by: Dee-El | June 27, 2007 3:33 PM

"Uhhh, a broken meter does mean that you can park without getting paying or getting a ticket. It is the city's responsibility for keeping meters working, and they cannot reduce the number of street parking spots because of failed meters."

That depends on where you are. I know that in Charlottesville, the rule is that if a meter is broken you may not park at it.

I'd rather they get rid of the meters and go to the "pay-and-display" system where you pay at a box mid-block, enter your license plate number, and then get a sticker that you put inside your windshield to show when your time expires.

Posted by: Rich | June 27, 2007 3:35 PM

SoMD: I think (1), (2), and (3) are all correct. No wonder this is the road rage birthplace of the US. Look how tightly these nuts are wound.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 3:38 PM

I find a highger proportion of ijits, no-brains and jerkwads with Maryland tags on their vehicles than any other state on the east Coast, with the possible exception of Massachusetts.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:40 PM

SoMD, if you think that any of South Loudounians posts come within a country mile of being humorous, I recommend that you quite taking ecstasy during the workday.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:42 PM

"Look how tightly these nuts are wound."

Jealous of those of us who possess, them, are you, Miste NoCojones?

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:45 PM

"Look how tightly these nuts are wound."

Jealous of those of us who possess them, are you, Miste NoCojones?

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:45 PM

"Look how tightly these nuts are wound."

Jealous of those of us who possess them, are you, Mister NoCojones?

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 3:45 PM

I am a Virginian, and I am absolutely sick of crazy people threatening me with their cars. Anything that would discourage irresponsible and destructive behavior is welcome to me. Fair or not fair, it is better than nothing.

Posted by: barro | June 27, 2007 3:47 PM

Meth says:

"I'd like nothing better than to see the price of fuel go to $5.00 per gallon so people like South Loundounian can feel pain at the pump."

Think it through, Meth:

If gas ever gets to $5.00/gallon, expect to pay more for EVERYTHING that moves in a truck or burns fuel, including the electricty you're burning to run your computer. Not to mention transit.

If you use transit and think that makes you superior to the rest of us (as many transit users do), consider the possiblity that $5.00/gas will raise your fare AND cause people to resist being taxed to further fund transit they can't use while they burn up $5.00/gal gas stuck in traffic on an inadequate road network.

Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 27, 2007 3:47 PM

I am a Virginian, and I am absolutely sick of crazy people threatening me with their cars. Anything that would discourage irresponsible and destructive behavior is welcome to me. Fair or not fair, it is better than nothing.

Posted by: barro | June 27, 2007 3:48 PM

I see Mister Methane's posting ineptitude is increasing as his head approaches combustion. He's now up to three identical posts.

Dial it back, son.

Posted by: South Loudounian | June 27, 2007 3:48 PM

I'm still scratching my head over this one:

OBSCENE VIDEO IMAGE VISIBLE OUTSIDE VEHICLE

'Damn it kids!!! I said put Edward Scissorhands in the DVD player... not Edward Penishands!!!... Oh, hello officer.'

Has there been a big problem in VA with folks driving with video porno projecting from their windows? So if I paste magazine shots of porn is that okey dokey then since it's not video? Seriously? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Oh and BTW... if you think this isn't like a sin tax, you're missing it. When driving improves (and windscreen porn banished) the fines and thus the revenues will go down. Then where will your raod funds come from Richmond.

Posted by: rpppolyp | June 27, 2007 4:14 PM

ctually, Monsieur Methane, I have a half-acre, four bathrooms, and my commute is just 15 miles each way.
----

wow. My wife walks to work and complains to me that my 4 mile commute is wrecking the environment. Aren't any of the companies in your neighborhood hiring? Was this some kind of a joke I'm too dense to understand?

Posted by: DCer | June 27, 2007 4:31 PM

For DCer who had the story about the friend who received 4-5 tickets per month by the Pentagon, the story is very suspect. Logic would have it that the person would slow down after 1 or 2 tickets.
-----

Per year. He received 4 or 5 per year, not month. and no, he worked at the Pentagon, he wasn't going to slow down. But he claimed the judges sided with him and he never got any points. As far as the suspect nature of my post, I cannot vouch for him more than that, but I know he showed me tickets several times. I remembered other parts to this story, but I'm not going to tell the guy's life story here.

Posted by: DCer | June 27, 2007 4:37 PM

OMG, I'm South Loundounian's son!???!!!

No wonder I'm f&^&ed up.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 4:40 PM

DCer: "Was this some kind of a joke I'm too dense to understand?"

Obviously it was, doofus. Try reading the whole thread before jumping in.

My condolences to your wife.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 4:53 PM

Ahh, I see CEEAF is bleating again. Sorry to burst your fantasy of my being run into the poorhouse by higher fuel prices, I live less than 8 miles from work. I can bicycle to work when I want (How easily you forget your safe cyclist bleatings to me...)and I live a lifestyle that is below my means: smaller hosue, smaller mortgage, older cars, no car payments. I can also telecommute when I want.

I realize that you come from the school of thought that says a patch of ground without concrete and lane markings is useless. However, I've lived here long enough to remember when there was no development beyond Tysons, when Reston was a Siberian outpost, when Landsdowne, Cascades, and South Riding were meadows where horses and cows grazed.

CEEAF, your arguments conventiently fail to mention how road building and suburban sprawl have a symbiotic relationship. If many of the roads initially planned were built, that would help alleviate the problem for 10 years or so, then congestion would be right back where it is now. Until higher fuel prices make it cost-ineffective for people to live in tract mcmansions in Loudoun and commute 35 miles each way, it is not possible to build enough roads to alleviate congestion.

Posted by: Mister Methane | June 27, 2007 4:56 PM

"It's the people that live on the fringe of poverty who will be affected the most. Sadly, politics is driven by greed and corruption. The losers in all this are the lower class of society. Those who make an honest living, trying to make ends meet, are the ones who have to most to lose here."

You are not the first to post a statement like this. How is this the case? Do poor/low income people speed more than rich? The law only negatively impacts the poor if they get in trouble. Who knows, maybe the rich actually get drive more recklessly than the poor? Then everything would fine wouldn't it?

Posted by: va bike commuter | June 27, 2007 03:31 PM

The law impacts both the rich AND the poor alike. The point is that a $3000 fine is a drop in the bucket for someone well-off. For those living from one paycheck to the next, it'd break the bank.

Posted by: ViennaResident | June 27, 2007 5:40 PM

Methlab, Methlab. You really need to get more fresh air.

And no, I don't consider a patch of ground without concrete and lane markings any more useless than a patch without train tracks and tall buildings. In fact, I LIKE tall buildings. I wish this region had more of them. Then there might be less "sprawl" (gotcha!).

Like I said, Methlab, be careful what you wish for. And all the road/sprawl-hating won't make them go away. I promise.

Now, isn't it something how fools who don't know you are so quick to make A$$umptions? And how the inadequate are so quick to either brag about their lifestyle and/or lecture in a pitiful effort to appear superior?

And you say I'M "bleating"? Hmmmmm.

Since you started this contest, guess what? I ALSO live a lifestyle below MY means - a nice new house in a gated community big enough to live in that I can WELL afford (I put 50% down); a 2 year-old Highlander SUV and a 6 year old 5-Series Beemer both paid for, all on one income. And I'm telecommunting as we speak.

Oh, and I have a bicycle.

And no, I didn't forget my "safe cyclist bleatings" to you a while back. Neither did I forget your braying. You came like a little boy trying to act like a big man.

Just like you are now.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 27, 2007 5:41 PM

Methalab,

You're making enough of a fool out of yourself on your own. You don't need my help. Therefor, I'm done with this. The last "bleat" is yours. Have a happy landing.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 27, 2007 5:47 PM

What is unfair about this bill is "out of staters" are exempt from the State fees. Outsiders include illegal aliens who are not allowed to drive in VA, but that doesn't seem to stop them. Then, there's the guy next door who has lived in Fairfax County for well over a year and parks his truck - with PA plates - on the parking lot. He boasts that he isn't going to pay no stinkin car tax, and now he's also exempt from state fees if he's cited for a moving violation. As if this weren't bad enough, his wife works for Fairfax County (at the court house). His truck is in the Fairfax County Data Base. Even Supervisor Hudgins office is aware of this, but "claim" there is nothing they can do. Counties are crying for money, but even when you take them by the hand and lead them to the violation, they tell you there is nothing they can do. BULL!

Posted by: ajsmith | June 27, 2007 6:54 PM

I have now read all of these comments, and I'm not sure how many individuals have posted, but it sure demonstrates why Richmond can't come to any agreement. I can just feel the love here.

I voted against the sales tax increase a few years ago also. I would have gladly voted for it if it had been state wide and not just a few counties in NOVA. I also didn't trust that Richmond would not raid the cookie jar after it was built up. I have no qualms about paying for roads in rural VA as long as roads in NOVA get built or fixed when it's necessary. The rest of Virginia forgets that NOVA has always paid for their road construction and to clear snow off of their roads for houses that are sometime over a mile apart. But if we need a road improvements in NOVA it will never get funded because those "gentlemen" in Richmond from rural Virginia say they just can't pay for it. I was under the impression that all Virginians would help out when other Virginians needed help. Not alot, just what they could afford. I didn't know that was nothing, ever. What a dope I am. I believe localities voiced some opposition to VDOT over the years. But did VDOT really think NOVA didn't need road improvements? VDOT probably got localized opposition from many jurisdictions, but there are still a lot of nice roads throughout Virginia. It's just lame to think NOVA only needed a curb fixed here and there.

I was against getting rid of the car tax. It was probably the fairest tax we had. You could be rich, but if you didn't want to pay the tax, buy a cheaper car. Half the money went to the local jurisdictions, and it kept income taxes down. But since they got rid of most of it anyway, I do think they should raise the income tax. And not just for a few counties like MD does with their piggyback taxes. Income taxes could at least be deducted on your federal return. If you spread the cost over the entire state it wouldn't have to be a large tax increase. Like the sales tax issue. If it had been state wide I would have applauded it. But Richmond is too afraid to raise taxes on the state level because they think it would hurt their re-election hopes. So they punish individuals in separate localities. But boy do they look good back home.


I have lived in Virgina all of my life as well, and I too remember as when outlying areas were not developed. I travel the Greenway and the Dulles Toll road everyday to get to work. Talk about a hidden tax. I can't write the tolls off because they are "user fees". Even though they use the money to maintain the road, kinda like every other road in Virgina that doesn't have a toll and is maintained through tax dollars. It's still not a tax. They raised the toll $0.50 each way to pay for Metro. They say I will benefit because it will ease congestion. By the time Metro is done I will be retired. I'll never use it. It wouldn't help my commute anyway. They say I will benefit from increase property values. That may be true, but there are many people who will benefit that will never have paid the tolls. So how is that fair? It was a way to raise revenue on a relatively few number of commuters that live over a wide area of voting jurisdictions that couldn't assemble enough political clout to stop them, and they already had the infrastructure in place to bend over everyone who passed by. I'm not against Metro coming to Dulles. It's just that when Metro was extended to Vienna and Franconia, there was no toll levied. No area tax. All Virginians paid for it, with some Federal Cost sharing as well, but no other area in D.C. has to pay to get to work. The Greenway wants to go to $5.00 each way so they can make a profit off of fellow Virginians. VDOT saw no reason to improve roads around it because everyone can just use the Greenway. Yea! So VDOT did nothing.

I also agree that slow traffic keep right signs should be put back up everywhere. You don't see them anymore. Slow drivers in the left lanes force people to pass on the right side. That's not good. It's dangerous. And HOV doesn't work. At least not on the Dulles Toll road. You have 3 lanes of stop and go traffic and one empty lane. They should put in an express lane to the Greenway instead of an HOV lane. And my tolls helped pay for those lanes that I am not allowed to be in.

NOW that I got that off my chest. I don't think these fees are a good idea either. It's just going to have cops ticketing everyone. It's not hard to speed on the Toll Road. Everyone, literally everyone, is doing 70 to 75 in a 55 everyday. I'm sure I will get tagged on a road I am paying to be on. There are better way to pay for road improvements. Maybe the drunk driving fee could stay.

Growth/sprawl is inevitable. You can't berate someone for living in Loudoun because if everyone gathered round closer in you'd be pissed their were too many people here. Not everyone wants to live in Manhattan.

And as for the out-of-state commenters that serve no purpose here, shutup and worry about your own state's problems. You have them too. Don't be so judging.

Boy, I feel better.


Posted by: Loudoun2 | June 27, 2007 7:41 PM

My commute is 2 miles one way. I probably can still get to 20 mph over the speed limit.

Such nasty postings...be nice!

Posted by: BURKE | June 27, 2007 8:06 PM

I'm thinging vaherder and SoMD are the same person. They both type like uneducated sheep-humpers. Their posts are meaningless and contribute nothing of significance to the blogs.

Posted by: ieatsheepdogfordinner | June 27, 2007 8:18 PM

ieatsheepdogfordinner is supposed to be witty? Or Witless?

Interesting post today. I get compared to vaherder. I don't usually agree with the vaherder viewpoints, but at least they are intelligently presented and good for a laugh.

FYI Mister Methane - I wouldn't know how to "quite" taking ecstasy during the workday. Sounds like you been inhaling your own fumes. The word you are grasping for is spelled "quit". What a maroon.

Posted by: SoMD | June 27, 2007 8:36 PM

Who's to say that driving 20 mph over the speed limit is reckless? I think it's often more reckless to drive 45 in the left hand lane.

This problem could be easily solved by taxing tobacco instead. Revenue windfall burdened by social pariahs = win/win

Lawyers will be reaping in the money with this new legislation, from trials to the collection fees.

Posted by: ican'tdrive55 | June 27, 2007 10:24 PM

As a career police officer I am outraged by these fees (taxes) too. People are quick to lump us all together as mindless fee collectors for the state but in reality I may not like everything that I have to do but I am sworn to uphold the law. I absolutely think that these fees are unconstitutional and that we need this law to be repealed. I do have concerns that these fees will hurt people of less means more than upper middle income and high income Virginians. I would love to see fines for DUI, Vehicular Manslaugter, and other SERIOUS infractions all be at minimum 3000.00 or more. I think its absurd that someone is looking at 900.00 + fines and court costs for forgetting to use their turnsignals and admittedly I have never written one of those in 13 years on the job. I tend to stop said persons and remind them that they are included on their vehicles as standard equipment. I think that there is conflicts of interest here as well with Del. Albo and his ability to reap monies from this as a specialized traffic PLC. These fees are going to make the courts unbearably busy. I would whole heartedly understand people getting every case heard before a judge. I also think that you would have to be an idiot if you pre-paid any of these offenses that include these fees. As a Virginian I am outraged by the underhandedness of how this bill came to pass. I wrote the governor a letter, I checked to see which delagtes voted for this POS law. I will be voting again in November!!!

Posted by: VA Cop | June 28, 2007 12:02 AM

Woah, sorry SoMD - I was feeling some sympathy for you when someone grouped you in with vaherder, until you said his posts "are intelligently presented". Yeah...if you like reading the ramblings of a manure-brained bigot ("a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.").

I would add to the vaherder fine - $1,000 everytime he uses "punk" in a sentence when responding to someone who calls him out on his ignorant views. You could pave every road in Virginia with gold bricks.

Posted by: Rosslyn | June 28, 2007 9:48 AM

I agree completely with VaCop. This is a lopsided, sneaky and possibly unconstitutional way of raising taxes. I'm apalled (but not surprised) that current and former Virginia politicians will benefit handsomely from this fiscal trick. The many of us who will not incur those fines should be happy that a relatively small group of drivers will be shouldering a considerable responsibility to fund road improvements. From July 1 forward I plan to use the speed control to take my many trips to southern and western Virginia at exactly the speed limit. No more keeping up with the flow of traffic. I would encourage every other Virginia driver to do the same.

Posted by: Burkeguy | June 28, 2007 10:11 AM

Who cares what the ulterior motive is? The effect is a good one. I do my best to be a conscientious driver, and if it wouldn't get me in trouble, I'd personally smack everyone I saw who was driving in a way that endangers others. Too many people needlessly die because of these airhats that aren't taken off the roads. So if the motivation is wrong, locals should simply work to get the money funneled to things they want.

Posted by: Damien | June 28, 2007 10:39 AM

Actually Rosslyn, when I referred to vaherder's comments as "intelligently presented" I was acknowledging the skill required for him to post exactly the correct words to elicit a response. And man, do the responses fly. This takes talent. A little misguided to be sure, but talent never the less. And you have to admit, the comments/responses can be quite humerous at times.

FYI Mister Methane: the previous sentence contained the proper usage of the word "quite". It is now time for me to "quit" this english lesson.

Posted by: SoMD | June 28, 2007 2:59 PM

Well....I think all I could say on the topic whether for or against the tax has been said. I don't agree with the tax for more reasons than I can count, but I think one submitter said it best earlier. Everyone has the highway in mind when they think of this tax. Everyone has envisioned some lunatic driving irratically on the highway, flipping folks off and weaving through traffic.

Did ANYONE think about the little rural areas where speed limits can be as low as 15 MPH? 35 MPH would be considered reckless driving. How easy would it be to go over 15 MPH?

Did ANYONE consider teen drivers? Forget about them speeding, what if they forget to use a turn signal? They are new to the roads and they will forget. Should the parents be hit with the $900.00 fine for failure to use a turn signal?

It's absolutely ludacris to believe that these so called abuser fees are not going to affect those who do not break the road laws, because I assure you as stated before, police officers are human first and humans make errors and what happens when a police officer makes an error towards a law abiding driver and the driver gets hit with the fee?

All officers of the law are not honest. That is the world we live in. Period. And if those of you who are so sure this law is a great idea believe that some officers are not going to specifically give tickets that incur these fees on purpose, you are crazy. If you think only those that nreak the laws will be affected by the taxes you are crazy.

Not to mention the $75.00 for every point on your license. One speeding ticket is worth for points! That's $200.00 in addition to the other fines and you can only take a drivers course once every 2 years to gain points on your license.

And what happens when someone can't pay the fines. Their license will be suspened. Then depending on their situation, they will probably risk driving to work to make money to pay the fine. They'll get into more trouble and end up in jail and then NOBODY gets paid!

The tactics used were underhanded, are about money and though in the long run it "MAY" make roads safer, how is it all going to play out when it happens to one of those top officials who passed the law? Are they going to wave their titles around and get out of the fees, because I assure you, there is a loophole for them.

For those of you who do not know, look up ALL the fees and ALL the charges and you will see they don't just include speeding and DUI's. Knowledge is power and they law makers knew people would be against the fees that's why they hid them. How could you be proud of anything you had to do underhandedly?

Posted by: GoodGrief | June 28, 2007 3:02 PM

South Loudounian, so, you have four bathrooms, huh? Just goes to show how full of sh*t you are.

Posted by: FredCo | June 28, 2007 9:44 PM

SoMD, you think that vaherder's posts are intelligent? I guess that just goes to show that birds of a feather.......

Posted by: FredCo | June 28, 2007 9:54 PM

Rosslyn,

Whats wrong punk are your neighbors making your life hateful in your $400k 350sq ft studio condo? Which is now worth $175k! I just hate lawyers but I have all the respect in the world for folks who really earned the jd after their name. When the jd stands for juvenile delinquent punk! Spend my days keeping the world safe so liitle girls like you can spout off and get all worked up because Ann Coulter said mean things about Lizzy Edwards and Hil's god awful legs. In my spare time I train my herding dogs which is why have sheep. My sheep BTW are a hell of lot more intelligent than most liberal left wing plundits. Bet Chris Matthews is pending the next 60 days on the coach. Does you ignorant punk butt even own a car? Or are you holier than sheep poop and use Metro and feel superior to those of us who commute in Hummer H1's with 700+hp smoke belching Gale Banks modified diesels. If you see me on the road honk puke and I give you big dose of black particulant matter as I stomp the loud pedal and raise global temps a 1/4 of a degree! BTW Rosslyn interested in some part time employment I need someone to watch the sheep and dogs why my girlfriend I take off to Monte Carlo and Paris for 2 weeks for some gambling and lots of shopping. Pays $1500 a week. Have a great sheep poop kind of day you hear boy! Shame your parents didnt band you nads at birth. And remember if you have a llb or jd from a law school and you legs are as unappealing as Hil's you should be in GITMO!

Posted by: vaherder | June 29, 2007 6:42 AM

Reminds me of that show: Korg, 2000 BC.

Posted by: FredCo | June 29, 2007 8:18 AM

Billy stated: "First we whine, 'Can't somebody do something to stop these terrible drivers?' Then somebody says, 'Hit 'em where it hurts. That'll stop 'em.' So the law's changed to hit 'em where it hurts. And then we whine, 'Oh, dear, that sounds pretty unfair!" Can't have it both ways, folks.'

No, but we could ask that it be fair, reasonable and equitable. As in make it apply to in-state and out-of-state, and make the fees less outrageous. NJ charges everyone and has more reasonable fees. Let the fee fit the crime. DUI: definitely should be a high fee!

Posted by: EagleRay1 | June 29, 2007 1:05 PM

Reminds me of that show: Korg, 2000 BC.
----

Korg 70,000 BC but who's counting?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 29, 2007 1:19 PM

Maryland: The accident on I-95 at the Springfield mixing bowl was not due to speeding but unfortunately user error, which is what most accidents are caused by, not speeding. It was also due to the fact that the new mixing bowl is just as confusing as the other one (I drive through it every day), causing drivers to do last minute lane changes because of poor signage, which is supposedly what happend in this case. Also, reports are saying that alcohol may have been involved. Hence, I have no problem with the DUI fee. It was a very unfortunate tragedy, but don't state that it was because of speeding until you have gathered all your facts. Plus, why should you care about these new fees - you don't live in VA so your EXEMPT!


RedLiner: Oh - like you Maryldanders are perfect drivers - give me a break! Plus as I said to "Maryland" why do you care? You are EXEMPT! So, happy speeding in good ol' VA.


NVa native: From another native, born in VA; raised in NoVa. Personally, I am sick of dishing out money for roads in VA that other people (out-of-staters) travel, but yet don't have to help fund. Especially the MD and DC tagged vehicles that live on my street (who are not military), and have been there for 2 years, and have yet to go to DMV to register as VA drivers - now VA has given them an incentive to never register in VA - GO VA. Excuse me, but as a native I want VA to do something that hits all drivers, whether you are registered in VA or not. Here's a concept - you live in VA you help to pay for funding for roads that you drive for as long as you're here whether you are a registered VA driver or not, and you get slapped also for being an unsafe driver. Even if you are just traveling through - same thing. Why our fine state could not have the balls just to raise traffic violation fines and put that money toward "road construction" is beyond me. That seems like it would be more logical in helping to "ease congestion on the roads and alter driver behavior," as this has been explained as the reason to why these fees are going into effect, for ALL drivers. Regarding your comment: "Some say they would actually rather move to another state - where breaking the law has little or no consequences; do you really want that kind of a person for a neighbor anyway? Not me." Hate to tell you this, all your neighbor will do is register their license plate in another state and still live next to you and continue to drive recklessly - if that is the kind of person who is saying this. Happy Driving!! :)

Posted by: EagleRay1 | June 29, 2007 2:23 PM

Have any of the commenters actually seen the list of violations that warrant a $1000 civil fine? http://www.courts.state.va.us/publications/hb_3202.pdf
Even good drivers having a bad day or momentary slip are capable of committing these violations--especially when there are many local governments who are overzealous in using unfair traffic traps to increase their revenues. I predict this horrid law, if not overturned, will be responsible for an increase in bankruptcies or the ruined credit of young people. Maybe you double income folks can afford to throw a thousand dollars or two at these greedy bureaucrats who don't seem to understand the concept of self-control themselves. However, there are plenty of hard-working folks who live paycheck to paycheck and these unfair civil fines will push them over the financial cliff. This makes me sick--Mr. Albo is creating a smoke screen--this is not about causing more people to obey the law--this is greed, pure and simple. And like the AMT (tax) it will affect those who can least afford it. These feudal lords need to get their hands out of the pockets of citizens and do the job they were elected to do!

Posted by: Look at the list of violations | June 29, 2007 9:54 PM

Have any of the commenters actually seen the list of violations that warrant a $1000 civil fine? http://www.courts.state.va.us/publications/hb_3202.pdf
Even good drivers having a bad day or momentary slip are capable of committing these violations--especially when there are many local governments who are overzealous in using unfair traffic traps to increase their revenues. I predict this horrid law, if not overturned, will be responsible for an increase in bankruptcies or the ruined credit of young people. Maybe you double income folks can afford to throw a thousand dollars or two at these greedy bureaucrats who don't seem to understand the concept of self-control themselves. However, there are plenty of hard-working folks who live paycheck to paycheck and these unfair civil fines will push them over the financial cliff. This makes me sick--Mr. Albo is creating a smoke screen--this is not about causing more people to obey the law--this is greed, pure and simple. And like the AMT (tax) it will affect those who can least afford it. These feudal lords need to get their hands out of the pockets of citizens and do the job they were elected to do!

Posted by: Look at the list of violations | June 29, 2007 9:54 PM

Have any of the commenters actually seen the list of violations that warrant a $1000 civil fine? http://www.courts.state.va.us/publications/hb_3202.pdf
Even good drivers having a bad day or momentary slip are capable of committing these violations--especially when there are many local governments who are overzealous in using unfair traffic traps to increase their revenues. I predict this horrid law, if not overturned, will be responsible for an increase in bankruptcies or the ruined credit of young people. Maybe you double income folks can afford to throw a thousand dollars or two at these greedy bureaucrats who don't seem to understand the concept of self-control themselves. However, there are plenty of hard-working folks who live paycheck to paycheck and these unfair civil fines will push them over the financial cliff. This makes me sick--Mr. Albo is creating a smoke screen--this is not about causing more people to obey the law--this is greed, pure and simple. And like the AMT (tax) it will affect those who can least afford it. These feudal lords need to get their hands out of the pockets of citizens and do the job they were elected to do!

Posted by: Applpie | June 29, 2007 9:55 PM

I never thought I would be able to use my property in Maryland to avoid Virginia laws. It looks like that property has just become my legal address which means I will have to transfer my license. oh darn! maybe all these fees will cover the loss of other DMV fees from people with the same idea as me.

Posted by: jimmyb | June 29, 2007 11:30 PM

I am sure those who are wealthy won't mind getting a ticket. Some of us work for our money we don't set out to get a ticket and we don't drive like a "maniac" but sometimes accidents happen that's why they are called accidents.

Posted by: Gore081568 | June 29, 2007 11:38 PM

I'm interested to see how quickly these new "laws" are contested in the courts.

It's scary to think that there are such severe consequences for misdemeanors. I'm all for throwing the book at repeat offenders and felonies. I'm an anal-retentive driver, but even I think a one thousand dollar fine for failing to signal a lane change is a bit much. We are all guilty at some point or another of a misdemeanor.

Politics in general leaves a bad taste in my mouth... and it's disconerting to think they will piss the collected "fees" upwind. It is disconcerting to think we will never see these fees used to benefit the Commonwealth.

I think two things may result in these steeper fines (I call a fine a fine)... the police officers will give a lot more warnings instead of tickets.

My second guess is that this will hurt middle class more than anyone else. As always the wealthy can afford it, the poor get everything supplemented.

Posted by: Accountant | June 30, 2007 2:20 AM

It is time for a Boston Tea Party!!!!!!! You may be a supporter now, but wait until your turn signal light goes out and your hit with 900 dollars in fines. Wait and see when government waste and abuse produce no new roads and congestion is even worse. Wait until your grand parents on social security cannot pay their rent because of these high fines. You may think they are a good idea until you are the one being stopped for something petty or a moments lack of judgement and oops bankrupty. Being retired from the military and a combat vet, I am ashamed of our government and the abuse of power. What's next??????

Posted by: Stafford | June 30, 2007 7:02 AM


If you guys could see what I see every day,you
would shake your head.

Posted by: Poor Road Worker | June 30, 2007 1:04 PM

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by: Bill | June 30, 2007 3:26 PM

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by: Bill | June 30, 2007 3:26 PM

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by: Bill | June 30, 2007 3:26 PM

All over this state there are people working for little more than minimum wage. When one of them comes up against these fees they simply will not be able to pay over 10% of their annual salary to the state. Their license will be suspended, but they will not necessarily stop driving.
They will continue to drive because often times people have no choice. This will begin a downward spiral of more tickets and more fees which will lead to more people in jail on traffic charges.

When they are driving on a suspended license, they will also be driving without insurance because insurance companies cancel insurance immediately if your license is suspended. This puts all of us at risk.

How does it benefit our society to create a situation where more people are marginalized and jailed, and for what: speeding?

Posted by: Erin Kelley | July 1, 2007 5:35 PM

Mr Methane, you are dead on right about everything you have said. Nice to see some intelligence still out there.

Posted by: Johnny | July 2, 2007 5:28 PM

well let,s look at the double jeaopardy aspect of this law. i am penalized criminally, and civily. is this double jeopardy? hell yes it is, and i am going to fight my ticket on those grounds, any lawyers up for some educational pro bono work?

Posted by: dave | July 2, 2007 7:56 PM

well let,s look at the double jeaopardy aspect of this law. i am penalized criminally, and civily. is this double jeopardy? hell yes it is, and i am going to fight my ticket on those grounds, any lawyers up for some educational pro bono work?

Posted by: dave | July 2, 2007 7:56 PM

well let,s look at the double jeaopardy aspect of this law. i am penalized criminally, and civily. is this double jeopardy? hell yes it is, and i am going to fight my ticket on those grounds, any lawyers up for some educational pro bono work?

Posted by: dave | July 2, 2007 7:56 PM

please for god's sake please someone help us poor people! i agree that virginia is a greedy wealth hole, and the politicians are scum. tim kaine are you listening? wtf are you thinking sir? i hate the commonwhealth now ,and ill be dead before you get my money!

Posted by: dave | July 2, 2007 8:01 PM

dave, please don't move the Maryland. Why don't you take your ignorant self to, oh, let's say, the hills of Kentucky.

Posted by: Don't let the door hit you... | July 2, 2007 9:11 PM

So, we look at the initial "Who" and the underlying "Why" this was probably sponsored. It was inserted into a larger bill, by a delegate..an attorney (David Albo) who works in one of VA's largest law firms, which amazingly handles a lot of traffic defense cases - fancy that! No conflict of interest there !

You think his concern was about safety?...or the realization that this legislation will drive more business to his firm - PERIOD. Of course, the VA gov't body holds the bag for passing it.

That being said, I am NOT condoning speeding or other traffic offenses...if caught for it, a person should experience some penalty. However, this is pure evidence that, in this country, we have long abaondoned the concept of the punishment fitting the crime - it is all about REVENUE. This is no truer than in the traffic fine system. "Who cares about the offense...let's just skin Joe Public for all we can!"

Personally, I have not had a speeding ticket in over 18 years, but when I see government's misdirected abuse of power like this, it is very disturbing.

Oh, yeah...it's for the highway program and school system. I imagine much of the other tax dollars for education, and the gasoline tax for roads, have been squandered in the general fund to now have enogh money to budget towards it. And what about the vehicle tax you have to pay in Virginia, that's supposed to be for roads. Did that end up mis-appropriated in the general fund too?

Here's an idea? How about reducing some spending, or cutting beurocratic waste? WHAT! - Banish the thought!!

Although I would still see current rates as excessive, I MIGHT understand if it was only levied on serious, repeat offenders for same offense - multiple speeding, multiple reckless operations, etc. But this hits a person on FIRST offense - that's NOT an "abuser", as they describe it. But hey...it's not about safety, right?

For the supporters...re-read the posts for the likely scenario if people are more careful and the anticipated revenue does NOT materialize. Now that you have this law, should this happen, surely they'll expand it into other offenses in "casting the net" as wide as they can...or encourage officers to be more productive and "find" violations.

That's the problem when you roll over and accept bad laws like this...it has potential to spread like an evil seed. This is pure, unadulturated EXTORTION.

I loved the beautiful country in Western Virginia and visiting the wine country, but I'm now glad I left.

I fear the "revenue mongers" in NC may watch this one and perhaps not be far behind to enacting something similar.

A shame on America when we allow political "leaders" to legislate business objectives (greed) to fines and punishment.

Posted by: Ex-VAresident | July 2, 2007 11:44 PM


"An enlightened people, and an energetic public opinion... will control and enchain the aristocratic spirit of the government." --Thomas Jefferson to Chevalier de Ouis, 1814. ME 14:130

Posted by: The Ghost Of Thomas Jefferson | July 3, 2007 1:40 AM


"An enlightened people, and an energetic public opinion... will control and enchain the aristocratic spirit of the government." --Thomas Jefferson to Chevalier de Ouis, 1814. ME 14:130

Posted by: The Ghost Of Thomas Jefferson | July 3, 2007 1:40 AM

This is an unfair way of collecting money from Virginians. This new law really doesn't have a way to distinguish good drivers from bad ones. We all know accident does happen eventhough we are being very carefull. DUI will get tough fine, that's no doubt. But what about sometime we don't realize that we are going over the speed limit and get pulled over by a cop and get thousands of dollars fine? Would we all be pissed? This is like stealing money from people. The cop just wait for us to make a mistake then they steal money from us. Well for those who really DUI and speeding, they deserve it. For me, I am a good driver, but I would be upset for beling pulled over for a speeding ticket that I don't intend to speed.

Posted by: Tom | July 3, 2007 3:32 PM

"I don't intend to speed". But officer, I didn't intend to speed. I'm sure that will go over like a lead balloon. Every legal vehicle has a gauge on the dashboard that a driver can look at to see how fast they are driving. AND, to top that off, signs are posted along roadways to tell driver's what the speed limits are. Now, given the information from the signage and the gauge on the dashboard, anyone with limited ability can put the two together and come up with the measure of how fast they may legally drive. That's it in a nutshell. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry that should be able to perform this simple analysis. Well, maybe any Dick or Harry....obviously, Tom can't.

Posted by: Tom is an idiot | July 3, 2007 8:33 PM

Speaking of BAD reporting. Marc points out that the law firm of Huff, Poole & Mahoney in Virginia Beach, "has an exclusive contract with local prosecutors' offices to go out and collect those unpaid fines. The firm, according to the Virginian-Pilot, earned more than $2 million in collection fees last year." He seems t imply that's somehow wasteful or immoral, or something wrong. What a good reporter would have done is compare the fees earned with the fines collected. Was it $2M fees for $2M fines collected, or was at $2M fees for $100M fines collected. It matters Marc.

That said, if you think the fines and abuser fees are too high, don't break the traffic laws. Simple.

Posted by: cullisongs | July 6, 2007 9:08 AM

Any comments from drivers out of state should be ignored. It doesnt affect them. This is total oppression of Virginians. Aldo Said it only affects 4.6 percent of Va. drivers, and that only if you have a lot of points. The bill does not say that at all, anywhere. The problem that I have with any traffic issue is that we are paying Police Officers good money to do a job and most of them are great people. However, I see violations everyday I drive and rarely do I see a Officer of any type. Where are they? They certainly dont make a visible presence. Whats up with that?

Posted by: Took | July 6, 2007 7:28 PM


To "Cullisongs"....

We'll see if you still have the same attitude, should you forget and change lanes without using your turn signal and get hit with a $900.00 civil remedial fee...

Posted by: Ex_VA Resident | July 8, 2007 12:56 PM

I find it interesting that in all our anger about this one additional attenuation of freedom, no one offers any solution to the underlying problem. Too many cars on the road going too slowly.

Many, many, jobs could be performed quite easily from home at least a couple of days per week. I would venture to guess that in NoVA the percentage of workers who could telecommute is significantly higher than other places in the Commonwealth. Thats one way to address the problem of too many vehicles.

As for speed: Driving faster lowers congestion. How hard is that to understand? Speed does not kill, unsafe, unthoughtful driving kills. There is a reason that the capitol beltway moves at around 75-80mph at all times. Thats the natural flow of traffic for a road so large. Could you imagine the traffic penalty if everyone on that road were driving 55mph?

Lets do some quick math (using my commute as an example). I drive 12 miles on the capitol beltway every work day. At 80mph that can be done in 9 minutes. At 55mph that translates down to over 13 minutes. Meaning 40% more cars on any given section of road at 55mph than 80mph These numbers apply only to my own driving situation, but even if you were to apply a safety margin of 4, 10% is a huge number. What we need are higher speed limits with drivers capable of maintaining control of their vehicle, not new laws to punish those who in large part do not contribute to the problem, but are in fact part of it's solution.

Posted by: Nebulous | July 16, 2007 10:30 AM

This law affects more than just habitual offenders and traffic violations. I sent in payment for a speeding ticket I received on Father's Day. It was 11 miles over the limit -- so not reckless driving AND it was the first ticket I had gotten in 15 years and only the second ticket I've gotten in my nearly 20 years of driving.

I got a call from the Gloucester County Courthouse today that the courthouse fees had increased on July 1 and that I owed $5 more than the summons paperwork I had received stated I owed. I protested that the ticket was received before those fees went into effect and was told that if I failed to pay the extra $5 on my ticket that my driver's license would be suspended!

I do not take issue with high tax assessments to pay for roads, schools and public services. What I DO have a problem with is the State of Virginia use of EXTORTION via these retroactive "fees" so that elected officials can say they didn't raise taxes. It is a slimy, backdoor tactic that I would expect from thugs -- not people elected to represent the people of the fine state of Virginia.

Posted by: Amy S. | July 17, 2007 12:59 PM

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