The state of Virginia is strict in its enforcement of laws against reckless driving. According to section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Code, reckless driving is listed as a criminal offense. In addition, the Virginia Code categorizes all driving that endangers the life and property of others as reckless.
Several behaviors that motorists exhibit while behind the wheels can qualify as reckless driving in Virginia. “Reckless driving causes nearly a third of all deaths involving major car accidents, which are more than 13,000 each year,” explains attorney Karin Riley Porter. As a result, you can be charged by an officer and can be found guilty or not guilty by a judge.
Types of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is in different forms and includes:
1. Driving a vehicle with a mechanical fault
Va. Code § 46.2-853 considers driving a vehicle with faulty brakes as a reckless driving offense. Therefore, if a driver cannot maintain proper vehicle control, the driver will be held liable for reckless driving. However, if a driver could prove that they didn’t have prior knowledge that the vehicle was faulty, it would be possible to avoid conviction.
2. Not giving out the right signals when required
Not giving out a signal while driving on Virginia road is an offense under section 46.2-860 of the Virginia Code. Motorists are required to start signaling 50 feet away from the place they would be turning where the speed limit is not above 35 mph. In situations where the speed limit is above 35 mph, drivers are required to signal 100 feet away from where they would take a turn.
3. Driving alongside another vehicle on a single lane road
In Virginia, driving two vehicles abreast on a one-lane road is considered a reckless driving offense. This rule, however, only applies to vehicles and has no implications on motorcycles and bikes. If found liable, the offender will face charges.
Different Virginia roads are subject to variable speed limits. A driver can face charges for reckless driving if they exceed the speed limit specified by law on each road network. According to the Va. Code §46.2-862, a driver can face convictions for reckless driving if they exceed the specified speed limit by 20 mph or drive above 80 mph.
5. Driving with an impaired view
Some drivers overload their cars or carry passengers who prevent them from seeing all sides of the road. Overloading is most common in trucks. If the passenger’s sitting position in any way obstructs the driver’s view, then the driver can be charged for reckless driving.
6. Racing on Public Property
Section 46.2-865 of the Virginia Code considers car racing on any property that is open to the members of the public without authorization as reckless driving. If found guilty, the state can withdraw the license of the driver for up to six months.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia
A reckless driving conviction may attract different penalties to the offender, some of which may include:
- A suspension of the driver’s license for six months or more
- Up to one-year jail term
- Fine amounting to $2,500
- Increase in auto insurance
- Ineligibility for car rentals
- Possibility of permanent seizure of vehicle if found guilty of unauthorized car racing
Reckless driving is a severe offense in Virginia. If you are charged with the crime and convicted, it can stay in your driving records for up to 11 years. However, with the help of an experienced Virginia traffic attorney, you can get a lesser charge for the offense.
Top States in the U.S with Strict Traffic Law Enforcement
Every state in the U.S has a set of laws guiding road use that road users are expected to adhere to. These laws are there to ensure that the roads are safe for everyone. However, not all road users keep to the rules, which usually attract punishment.
“When motorists disobey traffic laws, they endanger their lives and that of other road users,” says attorney Charles Boyk . According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, states with stricter traffic law enforcement have fewer accident occurrences. Many accidents on the road can be attributed to negligence by road users, and more compliance can go a long way in safeguarding people’s lives.
States that Strictly Enforce Traffic Laws
The following States are known for the strict enforcement of traffic laws in the United States.
Ohio ranks number one in the list of states with strict enforcement of traffic laws. Notwithstanding that the state records a relatively low number of police officers, the accident rate is low, with only 31.28 percent of drivers having a previous accident record.
The state is known for its strict laws, which were passed to make the roads safer for everyone. Some of these rules include:
- The seat belt law: Although operational in all the 50 states, they are more strictly enforced in Ohio. Seat belts have been said to help minimize injuries in a crash. Drivers and passengers who do not adhere to the seat belt laws are fined 30 and 20 dollars, respectively
- The booster seat law: in a bid to protect children who are the most vulnerable in accidents, the booster seat law was enacted. However, Ohio mandates the use of booster seats until the child is 8 years old. Motorists who break this law pay a 75 dollar fine
- Distracted driving law: the distracted driving law in Ohio is strict, with drivers outrightly banned from texting while behind the wheels
- Helmet law: this law was enacted to safeguard motorcyclists and passengers. All motorcyclists and their passengers below the age of 18 are mandated to wear a helmet
The state has several strict driving laws with a higher enforcement rate of DUI. Drivers guilty of driving under the influence will pay a fine of up to 2000 dollars. Other punishment for DUI offense includes 48 hours of jail term and a mandatory traffic education program.
The general traffic blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. However, if the law enforcement agency can prove that your driving was impaired, even if the blood alcohol limit is below 0.08 percent, you can still be charged with a DUI in California.
Most of the traffic laws in Alaska are a bit different from what is obtainable in other states and are strictly enforced. The state traffic law requires extended use of headlights in winter, while specific roads require motorists to leave their headlights on no matter the time of the year. On the other hand, motorcyclists are required to leave their headlights on at all times.
The speed limit on Alaskan roads is slower when compared with what is obtainable in other states, with drivers on the freeways required to keep the speed limit at 65 mph. Additionally, seat belt use is compulsory for all passengers, with offenders heavily fined for lack of compliance.
Also, the state law considers the use of any visual screen device while driving a primary offense. Offenders are fined heavily. Drivers above the age of 21 can transport cannabis, but the law prohibits them from using it in public or driving under its influence. Offenders may face jail terms, license withdrawal, fines, or the installation of an ignition interlock system on the vehicle.
The state of Georgia frowns at speeding and dishes out strict punishment to offenders. This led to the introduction of the super speeder ticket. This ticket specifies that drivers who exceed certain speed limits pay a 200 dollar extra after paying the usual fine for such traffic offenses. If the driver in question delays more than 120 days in making the payment, their license can be suspended.
Oregon considers speeding a serious traffic offense, with first-time offenders paying a fine of up to 300 dollars. Also, if you plan to drive while drunk in this state, you risk paying 1000 dollars and more in severe cases. Reports have shown that due to the strict enforcement of the rule on drunk driving, the number of defaulters is relatively low compared with what is obtainable in other states.
Additionally, the state is also known for its high compliance rate regarding seat belt use, with up to 96 percent of drivers and their passengers buckled up while on the road. Oregon seat belt law application is strict, with offenders paying a minimum of 65 dollars and a maximum of 250 dollars.
One of the things that Delaware is known for is its zero tolerance for speeders. This can be seen in its application of strict measures to curb speeding in the state. Drivers who accumulate up to 14 points for speeding will have their license suspended for 4 months.
Additionally, if drivers accumulate 22 points against their license, they will have their license suspended for 1 year. Getting 8 points will attract a warning letter from the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles, while the punishment for drivers who accumulate 12 points is a compulsory behavior modification driving course.
Delaware drivers who are found guilty of reckless driving for the first time are fined between 100-300 dollars, face a 10 – 30 days jail term, or both. Repeat offenders pay a fine of 300 – 1000 dollars or face a 30 – 60 days jail term.
Maine is known for its strictness in enforcing laws regarding impaired driving, recklessness, and not adhering to the seat belt laws. The zero-tolerance law is also fully operational in Maine. This law empowers the state to revoke the license of any driver below the age of 21 who is found guilty of drunk driving for one year.
Lack of adherence to traffic laws has dire consequences on road users. Many road users have been severely injured, while others have lost their lives because of negligence. States with stricter traffic law enforcement will witness a decline in accidents.
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