Virginia drivers, beware. If you ignore the state's speed limit signs you could end up owing a $3,550 ticket.
That stunning amount comes courtesy of a
Under the law, which took effect July 1, traffic offenses ranging from expired licenses to speeding to driving under the influence will get violators not only a fine and points (that could carry immediate costs as well as increased insurance rates), but also a $350 tax.
Even costlier, the tax
Worse, the tax/fee is non-negotiable. Under the law, judges cannot waive or reduce it.
And more infuriating, at least from the perspective of Old Dominion drivers, is that the law applies only to them. Virginia cannot, at least for now, levy the tax on out-of-state motorists.
Responsible for more state money: Virginia joins a handful of other states (New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Texas; details in this MSNMoney story) in enacting driver responsibility programs.
This approach is attractive to lawmakers for a couple of reasons:
- Serial traffic offenders constitute most of the cases in many states.
- The states need the money that these violators can provide.
Why not just increase fines on every driver, not just repeatedly bad ones? In Virginia's case, the tax gives the state more fiscal flexibility.
Revenue from fines must go to public schools, but the traffic tax money, expected to be around $200 million a year, will be used to improve Virginia's roads.
10 places to slow down: Every driver knows the local speed trap. The place where cops with itchy radar gun trigger fingers are just waiting for the slightest indication that you're over the posted speed limit.