9/14/2007Virginia Cities Raise Speeding Fines
Virginia allows individual cities to increase the cost of a speeding ticket by $200. Traveling with the flow of traffic earns $355 fine.
With speeding penalties in Virginia already topping out at a maximum of $3550, at least one city has decided its own cut has become too low. Charlottesville is one of many cities now taking advantage of a 1996 law that authorized jurisdictions to tack an extra $200 fine onto selected speeding tickets handed to drivers accused of exceeding the limit by 1 to 20 MPH.
To take advantage of the law, the city only has to post a small warning sign on affected roads. So far, Charlottesville has put up the signs on Altavista Avenue, Avon Street and Old Lynchburg Road. The city also plans to add signs to Brandywine Drive, Elliott Avenue and Rugy Avenue.
Charlottesville is well-positioned to take in substantial revenue from the change. According to generally accepted traffic engineering practice, and federal rules, the speed limit should be close to the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic. This is the speed at which the accident rate is lowest. According to the city's own data, the speed limit on Altavista Road is 16 miles per hour below that speed, making over 90 percent of drivers eligible for a $355 ticket. Old Lynchburg Road is underposted by 18 MPH and rates a $365 ticket while Avon Street's limits are between 16 and 26 MPH below the engineering standard. Ninety percent of those who miss the sign signaling the drop in speed limit from 35 to 25 MPH on Avon will face a maximum court imposed fine of $2500 plus the mandatory civil remedial fee of $1050.
A copy of Charlottesville's ordinance is available in a 450k PDF file at the source link below.