Sunday, July 01, 2007

Drive Like Uranus, Pay Out The Nose

A number of new laws effecting motorists took effect in Virginia today. Among them is a measure making it illegal for drivers under 18 to talk on a cellphone while behind the wheel. The state is also restarting a program allowing photo enforcement of red lights. That measure was surprisingly controversial, with rural lawmakers vehemently opposed to it. Those representing the more urban areas of the state such as Northern Virginia--where traffic is a constant concern--were in favor of cameras to catch red light runners.

But nothing has the people of Virginia as riled up as the so-called "abusive driver" fees. Under the program, which was adopted to increase highway funding with raising taxes, the cost of serious traffic offenses will greatly increase. For example, a conviction for reckless driving (which includes exceeding the speed limit by 20 or more miles) will now cost an additional $1050 on top of whatever the regular fine is. A first offense DUI will carry a $2250 surcharge. And if you accumulate eight or more demerit points on your record during the course of two years, that will cost you $75 a point.

During a recent radio call-in show, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine caught an earful over the fees. Callers claimed the higher costs will hurt the working poor and amount to a tax increase. Some people are even threatening to move to Maryland to avoid the surcharges.

As someone who routinely racks up 200-250 miles a day on the mean streets of Fairfax County, I welcome the new fees. If you are the type of driver who routinely drives recklessly, then by all means PLEASE move somewhere else. And don't let the state line hit you on the ass when you leave.

Seriously, why are people upset about these new fees? If you don't want to pay them, then don't drive like a f*cking asshole. Then you won't have to pay the new charges, and you'll even avoid having to move to another state. Or is easing off the gas peddle that much of a challenge for some folks?

On the other hand, these new fees are designated to go to the state's highway fund for the building of new roads. That's certainly a worthy cause. Heck, maybe an argument can be made that driving like a freakin' maniac is a civic duty.

0 thoughtful ramblings: