Recently, a state law went into effect startling Virginia drivers, House Bill 3202 [pdf]. As a result it has garnered a lot of negative response from the locals.
First off, I think this law is total bullshit. But, not for the reasons you might expect. While we all can argue the fact it is unfair, unreasonable, and unjust; we can’t dispute the fact that it will prevent repeat offenders from going through the system. If you are a repeat offender, you are welcome to buy your way out of it, and pay for the state’s deficit.
Keep in mind, that these “Civil Remedial Fees” are additional fines for the current fines in place. The state is double-dipping when you get a traffic citation.
This law is only impacting VA residents. That means drivers from AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY are not impacted by this law. Note that in Virginia, residents from Maryland and the District drive through VA regularly.
When someone questioned the legality of these new fines, they won. These laws violate one’s 14th Amendment (equal protection of the law). Good job! I’m hoping more cases like this come up, and will result in the repeal of this unjust law, of which its sole purpose to generate revenue. Now, who’s going to the Sheriff’s Beer Bash when his officers make over-quota the fourth week in a row? We can’t, we’d be broke and have to use the Metro to get around.
So where do I stand on this … am I for or against? I’m against this law because it is too strict, offers no appeals or judicial process, and is applied unevenly. It shouldn’t be a penalty to live in VA, I mean we all pay high enough taxes on everything else, no need to double-dip us when it comes to traffic offenses.
I suggest that if VA legislature wants to earn revenue, but also obtain buy-in from their citizens they need to publicly announce the following:
- Re-evaluate ALL posted speed limits where traffic enforcement is assigned. It is fair to say that most vehicles here can easily handle a higher speed, faster braking, and would certainly please the folks here.
- Cooperate with MD, D.C., WV, and PA legislature to mimic the current laws (of what they choose for traffic enforcement).
- Lower the fines, and have an appeals process for negotiating the “right” fine. Basically, people who are on their first or second citation, I think that judges should be able to delegate state-mandated education and or temporary restricted licenses in lieu of $1,000 penalties.
- Go fucking nuts on “Leaving the Scene…” (Hit and Run), DUI/DWI drivers, and suspended licenses. I understand that VA doesn’t tolerate DUI, well they should be able to pwn them further with fines (like $5,000?) to really make a dent on that. Excessive? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Will they — can they afford — to do it again? No.
That being said, I register my vehicle with the State of Virginia. Pray the Rosary for me.