Potential New Law to Increase Speeding Threshold for Reckless Driving in Virginia
The Virginia Senate passed legislation last Wednesday that would raise the threshold for charging a driver with reckless driving. House Bill 1185 amended the reckless driving speed from 81mph to 85mph on Virginia Highways where the speed limit is 70. The bill passed with bipartisan support in a 26-14 vote.
The bill still maintains the existing law that drivers exceeding the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more would be guilty of reckless driving.
Some in the legal community are divided in their opinion of the potential new legislation. Supporters of the bill maintain that presently when a driver exceeds the speed limit by 11 miles per hour he or she would be guilty of reckless driving and potential fines and jail time. Increasing this limit to 15 miles per hour seemed reasonable in light of the 2010 law which increased the speed limit in Virginia to 70 miles per hour on some highways.
Opponents of this law are concerned that it would make Virginia highways unsafe causing a potentially greater risk for auto accidents resulting in serious personal injury and/or wrongful deaths.
Some argue that driving 80 miles per hour should always be considered reckless, as the driver would be moving too fast to maintain control of his or her vehicle, in essence suggesting that driving up to 84 miles per hour would be considered less than reckless.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2014 speeding was determined to be the cause of more than 9,000 auto accidents resulting in personal injury. 274 of those accidents were fatal and considered “wrongful deaths.”
If the law passes in the House of Delegates, it will be interesting to see whether the legislation will affect the safety of driving on Virginia highways, or how it might favor the prevention of unnecessary reckless driving penalties.
For questions about personal injury or if you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you deserve to know your rights. Contact Emroch & Kilduff and speak with our experienced personal injury attorneys.