RICHMOND, Va. — Drivers who get caught going 11 mph over the speed limit on Virginia’s interstate highways may no longer face criminal charges if a proposed bill passes.
A House of Delegates panel approved legislation 14-5 Tuesday that would raise the threshold of reckless driving from 80 mph to 85 mph.
Republican Del. Jeffrey L. Campbell, the bill’s sponsor, said there’s an “illogical juxtaposition” in current law that allows for a driver to be charged with reckless driving for going 11 mph over on an interstate with a limit of 70 mph, but that speeders in residential neighborhoods can go 19 mph over the limit and come away with only a speeding ticket.
Campbell said that many young people who agree to pay a reckless driving fine aren’t fully aware of the consequences.
“And then six months later they realize they’ve been convicted of a class one misdemeanor,” he said.
But Capt. F. Daniel Glick of the Virginia State Police said passage of the bill would “send a message” to drivers that speeding is tolerated over 80 mph.
“That is a barrier that people recognize,” Glick said. “They realize if they go over, it’s going to be a problem for them.”
Glick said that there were 339 speed-related deaths on Virginia roads in 2013 and that state police were “obviously concerned that this will not help that situation.”
The bill was referred to another House committee for consideration.
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