The state of Virginia recently hiked traffic fines so that going 20 mph over the limit can result in a fine of $1000. If you're caught driving under the influence for a third time or if you're "felony reckless driving," the fine is $3000. Other offenses result in similarly high fines.
While the motivation of the state legislators was to increase revenue, I applaud efforts to make dangerous driving more painful to those who commit the crime. While roads generally have become safer for drivers and car occupants, traffic fatalities have gone up significantly over the past few years. Safer cars with better crash protection, better suspension, better brakes, and more powerful engines just means you can drive even more like a bonehead. Drivers are more likely to wreck their cars, but the wrecks are more survivable as long as you happen to be inside the metal cage. Wrecks are also more likely for the more vulnerable users of our road systems -- pedestrians and cyclists -- but the improved crash worthiness protection doesn't extend to us.
This is what I've been saying needs to be done all along. Make the speeding laws something that's actually going to HURT people in some way. That way they'll stop speeding.
The law I've been pushing recently is to give anyone who speeds in a school zone a six-month license suspension. If we can't create laws to protect kids at school, what good are we? Lives are more important than speed on the road.
THat one drawback is pretty significant, especially since it means the same guy could deserve a ticket ten times and there might not even be a record. End result: more crazy drivers, not fewer. I'm of the "earn your right to the road" school. If our culture stopped thinking it was a horrible thing to deprive somebody of the privilege to drive, then a: those same outraged citizens would create options and b: htere *would* be fewer dangerously impaired drivers out there.
I read that one reason the VA legislators voted for increased speeding fine was because they were afraid to increase gas taxes by roughly a penny per gallon. the measure is meant to increase revenues for roads, as you've noted Fritz, but the legislature is tax averse.
Now we get to see how much backbone they have when confronted with angry voters.
One of the biggest complaints about the law is that out of state drivers (there are a lot, District and Maryland residents) are exempted from the high fines because they are allowed to plead ignorance. The roads right around the District are nasty to drive in, but there are already a number of programs to encourage people to report "aggressive" drivers. Maybe there just needs to be more effort to track down the reported aggressives.
Are you nut? I make 1500 a month. I don't speed but speed traps all over my rout to and from work on downhills and 25 mils speed limit? Are you telling me you never went over limit? Do you even live in US?