In Virginia, the top highway speed limit is 70 mph and driving on an open freeway faster than 80 mph can get you a criminal reckless driving conviction — facing up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500, plus, thousands of dollars in legal fees. Since the flow of traffic is often 10 or more miles per hour over the speed limit on a freeway, driving with the flow of traffic on a freeway can make you a criminal and get you a year in jail.
It doesn’t make any sense to make criminals out of soccer moms driving with the flow of traffic on the freeway. But too often governments are criminalizing ordinary behavior that used to draw a simple fine. This is a growing problem. As government becomes less responsive and more intrusive, it begins to treat law-abiding citizens, like soccer moms and dads, as subjects over whom it rules — rather than as citizens to be governed with respect and fairness.
Government needs to respect its citizens. When it does, it won’t criminalize insanely idiotic things like driving with the flow of traffic on an open freeway. Reasonable traffic fines are one thing, but criminal convictions and jail time and criminal fines are simply over-the-top, and evidence that the government is unresponsive, unfair and out-of-control.
August 24, 2016
Criminalizing ordinary highway speeding and jailing drivers for going 11 miles per hour over the limit is a grotesque abuse of power.
By • Frontiers of Freedom
This summer, millions of Americans have been on road trips through the highways of Virginia. The state’s top speed limit is clearly posted at 70 miles per hour. However, what few drivers know is that driving at a speed greater than 80 miles per hour — a mere 11 miles per hour over the top speed limit — is criminal reckless driving under Virginia law. Driving on an open freeway, the flow of traffic is typically somewhere between 78 and 85 miles per hour. And yet, in Virginia (and many other states) going with the flow of traffic on an open freeway can subject you to insanely harsh criminal punishment. In Virginia, that means up to one year in jail and heavy criminal fines of up to $2,500, plus thousands in related legal fees. All across the nation, similar abuses in traffic laws exist. Continue reading
The Commonwealth of Virginia should be ashamed and embarrassed for criminalizing simply driving with the flow of traffic on Virginia’s open freeways. The government should be serving and protecting law-abiding citizens — not finding new senseless ways to make soccer moms criminals.
The Governor, the House of Delates and the State Senate all must bear the blame for this unjust and abusive exercise of raw governmental power. For years, Virginia has had the chance to fix this bad law, but instead they have protected special interests and left soccer moms to be unjustly labeled criminals. This is a disgrace.
I join thousands of other Virginians in calling upon the Governor and the Virginia’s Delegates and Senators to change the law and making garden-variety speeding a traffic violation, not a crime. Reckless driving should be determined by the facts and circumstances of the event, not by simply driving a little too fast.
Yes, I want to help the effort to stop criminalizing soccer moms driving with the flow of traffic on the freeway! I want to help provide the resources needed to stop this abuse of power and to make the government respect its citizens. Please accept my tax-deductible contribution to bring this issue to light, educate policy makers, and reform the law.
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