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VA's "civil remedial fees": unfair to the poor?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...referrer=email

In addition to a fine, Virginia is planning on high fees for traffic violations, e.g., a $900 fee in addition to a $75 fine for driving without a license. The money is supposed to go into road repairs, among other things.

Some lawyers claim that the fees will be unfair to the poor, who may lose their licenses, and thus jobs, because they can't afford to pay the fees.

You can avoid paying the fees by not violating laws, so what's so unfair?
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...referrer=email

In addition to a fine, Virginia is planning on high fees for traffic violations, e.g., a $900 fee in addition to a $75 fine for driving without a license. The money is supposed to go into road repairs, among other things.

Some lawyers claim that the fees will be unfair to the poor, who may lose their licenses, and thus jobs, because they can't afford to pay the fees.

You can avoid paying the fees by not violating laws, so what's so unfair?
I think it's slightly unfair to the poor. To be honest, the system of traffic fines that I like is based in Germany. I believe, and if I'm wrong please correct me, that speeding tickets are based on income. The more one makes the more one pays.

This could also put me out of a job. I do filing paper work in that state, and I work with a lot of customers that are poor. The less they drive the less work I have to do.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
I think it's slightly unfair to the poor. To be honest, the system of traffic fines that I like is based in Germany. I believe, and if I'm wrong please correct me, that speeding tickets are based on income. The more one makes the more one pays.
That's true of most fines, but not speeding tickets, which are based on how much over the limit you were driving.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
That's true of most fines, but not speeding tickets, which are based on how much over the limit you were driving.
That's for the correction!

The state of Virginia is known for their heavy fines as it is, but I do feel that these fines are a bit out of line. The issue is that they already have a system in place for dealing with these instances, and it's not being enforced.
post #5 of 14
This was also on the news here this morning. Since Memorial Day 20 people have died in 10 separate crashes in Virginia. I personally avoid Northern Virginia, I just cannot comfortably drive the Capital Beltway, the traffic is horrendous. When I was looking for a job I turned down all in Northern Virginia just because I can't drive there. That is just me. And yes, Maryland roadways can be just as bad, the 270 corridor also has tremendous traffic. I took a job that I can take public transportation.

That said, I am not sure about the fines for driving without a license. I can see many poorer people taking a chance and driving if they have to get to their job to support thier families.

However, I have NO problem fining the heck out of drunk drivers. Or people going over 20 miles an hour over the speed limit, reckless driving. (They do make a distinction between slightly over the speed limit which is common and recklessness) I just can't get behing any excuse for this behavior.

The reality is Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, does need alot of money for thier transportation system which is overburdened. And if these fines deter people from drunk driving and reckless speeding, I am all for it in Maryland as well.

Tricia
post #6 of 14
The solution is simple: DON'T speed and you won't get a ticket and/or lose your license. How about a bit of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY here?
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peachytoday View Post
This was also on the news here this morning. Since Memorial Day 20 people have died in 10 separate crashes in Virginia. I personally avoid Northern Virginia, I just cannot comfortably drive the Capital Beltway, the traffic is horrendous. When I was looking for a job I turned down all in Northern Virginia just because I can't drive there. That is just me. And yes, Maryland roadways can be just as bad, the 270 corridor also has tremendous traffic. I took a job that I can take public transportation.

That said, I am not sure about the fines for driving without a license. I can see many poorer people taking a chance and driving if they have to get to their job to support their families.

However, I have NO problem fining the heck out of drunk drivers. Or people going over 20 miles an hour over the speed limit, reckless driving. (They do make a distinction between slightly over the speed limit which is common and recklessness) I just can't get being any excuse for this behavior.

The reality is Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, does need alot of money for thier transportation system which is overburdened. And if these fines deter people from drunk driving and reckless speeding, I am all for it in Maryland as well.

Tricia
I'm thousands of miles away (on the other side of the Atlantic), but having grown up in Pennsylvania, and therefore having had some driving experience in Virginia, and with a niece living in Blacksburg, and being an avid fan of the "Mrs. Murphy" cat mystery series, I'm aware that Virginia has some problems in this sector, so the article caught my eye. Hopefully it will deter people from DUI and reckless speeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katl8e View Post
The solution is simple: DON'T speed and you won't get a ticket and/or lose your license. How about a bit of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY here?
My attitude, also (despite having just gotten a warning about speeding while overtaking an RV in Austria, which is quite strict).
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by katl8e View Post
The solution is simple: DON'T speed and you won't get a ticket and/or lose your license. How about a bit of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY here?

NO WAY, we can't have that.


I think there should be very very high fines for driving without a license, reckless driving and drunk driving. AND for driving with no insurance.

Is there no mass transit there that the poor can make use of?
post #9 of 14
Why should the poor have to do that? All they have to do is not drive too fast. I am definitely in favour of much, MUCH stiffer penalties for traffic violations - of all kinds. Car accident deaths number in the tens of thousands every year. Harsh penalties, to me, might go a long way towards seeing that decrease. It's a win-win situation for road safety, although possibly not for those who abuse their road privileges.
post #10 of 14
So, how about this .. poopy bill?

http://www.courts.state.va.us/publications/hb_3202.pdf
post #11 of 14
Okay, so here we have a bill. This bill hits a state where... if I were still living in say.. Bluefield or say..oh, let's get into the larger areas, like Wytheville, Roanoke, Christiansburg.. etc... there is *NO* public transportation and *nothing* is accessible. Now, places like Christiansburg and Roanoke aren't as bad, because there is stuff closer by, but really... there's still no public transportation systems.

If you live in the DC metro area, then yes, there are public transit systems, but let me tell you... living out further in Northern Va, they're still not ideal, it's still difficult to manage, and the only place the bus near me that runs takes me to is downtown. It doesn't run to any of the stores nearby. DC is absolutely NOTHING like living in say... Manhattan, where the subway system goes everywhere and you can get from point A to point B without any major problems.

That being said, these fines are absolutely beyond ridiculous. And IMO, if this were being instituted in all the states around the US, it would get a lot more attention. In the meantime, here we area, I commute to DC every single weekday, by car if my sister is here to carpool, and by bus/metro if she isn't.. and in this bill there is absolutely no allowance for HOV violations. One of *the* biggest problems in this particular area is HOV violations and aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is supposed to be this huge campaign in this area, but the police here do nothing about it, and they don't do a whole lot about the HOV violations, which is supposed to be another big campaign.

Virginia is already one of the toughest states on traffic violations. They need to do something about the things in this that they didn't address, at least from a DC metro standpoint... and I have to tell you, the police around here don't know the laws. They're very often WRONG, and so now, we've got a fee situation where some ditz police officer (no disrespect to the hard work they do or to the ones that are knowledgable, but they're most certainly not infallible), who thinks he's above correction simply because he's an officer, pulls you over, gives you a ranting ticket because he's WRONG about a particular law, or he "spotted" you when his radar went off but it was the car in front of you who cleverly downshifted so as not to flare his brake lights.. and not only are you now getting the original fine, which you have to fight in court, but then you have to pay some ridiculous amount that for something you aren't guilty of in the first place.


So.... you go to court. Of course, you might as well settle in because now you're going to be there for awhile. Everyone is going to be fighting a ticket, hiring attorneys and basically bogging down the legal system for this when there are much more important things for the courts to be doing. The fines are ridiculous.

If they want this much revenue, then they'd be better off imposing toll roads where everyone that drives on them is affected. I mean, I'm totally behind some of these, like driving DUI, but some of them???? COME ON! And these completely do not affect people from other states that are using our roads.

Passing on the crest of a hill; ($250)
Passing two vehicles abreast; ($350 - $1000)
Fail to give proper signal: ($350-$1000)
Failure to stop entering a highway ($350-$1000)

I mean some of these just don't seem like they're really.. um.. serious violations. I'd say the failure to stop entering a highway could be debatable.
post #12 of 14
I have a license.

I don't speed.

I don't drive drunk.

Am I concerned about this law? Not a bit. Anyone who is driving reckless and endangering the lives of others, deserves every bit of the fine they receive.
post #13 of 14
For the most part I have to say follow the rules of the raod and one would have nothing to get fined for. And if you choose to not follow the rules pay your fines and what have you without complaining that its not fair you got caught.

As for gettign pulled and a ticket when another car is speeding....How are you getting pulled and ticketed when you are not speeding?

Not passing on the crest of a hill is smart. I have never passed anyone when I am getting close to the top of a hill on either side. Its just not safe you have no idea whats coming in the other lane. Do it at the wrong time and it can end horrible for all three cars (or more if there is heavy traffic).

Passing two vehicles abreast; I have no idea what this means. I'll have to look this up and come back to it.

Fail to give proper signal; I always do this even if no car is around me. Why because you can never tell when another car with just be there.

Failure to stop entering a highway; most highways I have been on have merge lanes where one does not have to stop but are able to just merge into traffic; Though in heavy traffic this is not always the case and its to conjested to just merge in and you have to stop. I try to stay away from highways/freeways as much as possible I do not feel safe on them with the major speeders and crazy drivers.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping View Post
For the most part I have to say follow the rules of the raod and one would have nothing to get fined for. And if you choose to not follow the rules pay your fines and what have you without complaining that its not fair you got caught.

As for gettign pulled and a ticket when another car is speeding....How are you getting pulled and ticketed when you are not speeding?
Because police use radar guns, and even laser guns often to get the "speed" of the cars doing down the highway. Now, this is only as effective as the best guess as to who it is that is speeding because they have to eyeball which car is going faster than the rest. Now, for instance, in the case where I was ticketed wrongly.. and by the way, I won it in court.. but it took me a lot of money... I was in the left lane, passing a slower car, who was doing 15 miles under the speed limit. There was another car who was in front of me, he had just gone flying by me about 10 seconds before I pulled over to pass the other vehicle (again, who was going 15 miles below the speed limit)... he sees the police vehicle on the side of the road.. he DOWNSHIFTS in order to slow down his vehicle so as not to have to use the brakes, the officer sees my car going faster than the rest, but still doing the speed limit, and pulls me because at this point I passed the other car who had downshifted. All three cars were in close enough proximity that the officer could not efficiently eyeball who it was that was speeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ping
Not passing on the crest of a hill is smart. I have never passed anyone when I am getting close to the top of a hill on either side. Its just not safe you have no idea whats coming in the other lane. Do it at the wrong time and it can end horrible for all three cars (or more if there is heavy traffic).
Yes, that is true, if you're on a two lane highway and you have passing zones, and you're not using a six lane highway where there are three lanes (or more) on each side of the highway. If there's someone coming in the opposite direction in *that* case, it darned sure better not be me that gets the ticket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ping
Passing two vehicles abreast; I have no idea what this means. I'll have to look this up and come back to it.
This is a case where, for instance, you have a six or more lane highway and two cars are travelling nose to nose.. and you have the third lane, and you pass them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ping
Fail to give proper signal; I always do this even if no car is around me. Why because you can never tell when another car with just be there.
Yes, it's proper to do this, but what happens in a situation where you don't get the opportunity because you don't have enough time? i.e. an animal runs out in front of you, a car pulls out suddenly in front of you, or cuts you off, and you pull out of your lane to avoid an accident, but all the police officer sitting over the road sees is the last two seconds of it, which is you pulling out of your lane without signalling and pulls you, and you get fined whatever the original fee is plus $1000?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ping
Failure to stop entering a highway; most highways I have been on have merge lanes where one does not have to stop but are able to just merge into traffic; Though in heavy traffic this is not always the case and its to conjested to just merge in and you have to stop. I try to stay away from highways/freeways as much as possible I do not feel safe on them with the major speeders and crazy drivers.
Well and I agree with this, really, however.. it is a law, or a reason to ticket, and there are often times that police will pull someone for some other reason, give them a "makeshift" ticket so they can get them on something else like a seatbelt law or something as well, or.. in some cases, they might just think it's 4 a.m. and it's a good reason to stop someone just to see if they're drinking and driving (regardless of the fact that you havent' had a drop to drink and you're not doing *anything* to attract their attention except be on the road at 4 a.m.). And it does happen around here. Often. A lot.

Now, I agree, things that are endangerment deserve strict punishment, but in all honesty, the punishments are already greater in VA than in most states and they're by far more than enough to punish drivers guilty of breaking the laws.

Saying this law is okay is a lot like saying that wire tapping is okay because it shouldn't be an issue as long as you're not doing anything wrong or plotting against the president.
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