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TNP.com: Virginia House Makes Rolling Right Turn Reckless Driving


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Virginia House Makes Rolling Right Turn Reckless Driving

Virginia House passes bill imposing up to $2500 fine and possible jail time for boulevard stops.

The Virginia House of Delegates on February 4 approved legislation that would make a rolling right-hand turn on a red light a reckless driving offense. The bill introduced by Delegate Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen) was approved with a 67 to 31 vote and is now pending before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

"Any person who drives a motor vehicle in violation of Section 46.2-833 is guilty of reckless driving," House Bill 1993 states.

Under current law, Section 46.2-833, as referenced above, makes it an infraction either to turn right without stopping on a red light or to enter an intersection a fraction of a second after the light changes to red. The effect of the bill would be to change the penalty for a California stop into a class one misdemeanor carrying six license points, a fine of up to $2500, up to one year in jail and a six-month driver's license suspension. US Department of Transportation statistics show that rolling stops rarely cause accidents (view report).

This outcome is clearly contemplated by the House Courts of Justice Committee which amended the original version of the bill which only sought to impose the reckless penalty on anyone who "unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury or death of another" through red light running. The committee also struck a provision ensuring that the reckless penalty is not applied to infractions detected by a red light camera.

Virginia lawmakers are notorious for turning what other states treat as ordinary traffic infractions into serious misdemeanors. For example, the offense of driving as little as 10 MPH over the limit on some rural interstates may only be charged as reckless driving. Section 46.2-860 of the state code allows police to cite motorists who fail to use a turn signal with reckless driving. In an interview with TheNewspaper, senior Virginia State Police officials confirmed that there are no written guidelines covering offenses that can be treated either as infractions or as reckless driving, leaving police officers free to cite under the reckless statute at their discretion.

The issue came to light in 2007 when the state attempted to impose a mandatory $1050 tax on reckless driving convictions which turned out primarily to involve minor speeding offenses. A bicyclist in Newport News was charged with reckless driving for pedaling too fast. In practice, the state uses the reckless charge to discourage motorists from challenging citations by forcing a plea bargain that is favorable to the state.

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so glad not to be in VA anymore because of crap like this.

here in TN they are voting to allow the California stop, which is a brief stop, just not a complete stop.

This can only worsen the traffic problem up there.Just shows, to me, that VA is still only interesed in charging as much as they can to people by making minor infractions more serious, instead of actually addressing the major problems.

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Sometimes you have to sit back and smile. in Virginia you can't just raise taxes to generate revenue. That would be very bad. So, you come up with stupid legislation to generate that lost tax revenue. In Virginia you get hammered with lots and lots of little add on taxes, but never an open and out front tax.

If passed it will stay passed until enough people complain, like previously, or some lawmakers start getting stopped and sited for said infraction.

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The reckless driving laws in this state are such ****ing baloney. My reckless driving charge (81 on I-95) was a load of horse crap. I was going at about 75ish and I sped up to over take a person using the left hand lane. I must've hit 81 for a brief second but the cop pulled me over near Spotsylvania and gave me a reckless citation when he could have easily given me 79 which would be a normal speeding ticket.

Had to go to court in the middle of no where and now I have this dumb charge on my record for a long time.

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