Abusive Driver Fees Repeal?

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

The controversial abusive driver fees may come to an end if Governor Tim Kaine gets his way.

Wednesday night during his State of the Commonwealth Address, Kaine said it was time the state repealed the law created at last year's General Assembly.

In Kaine's speech, he said that the fees did not bring in the money he had hoped they would, and they didn't seem to slow drivers down. However, some legislators say the rules needs to be fixed, not thrown out.

"Citizens in huge numbers have told us that the fees should be repealed, and we should listen to them," says Kaine, as he was interrupted with loud applause during his State of the Commonwealth Address.

The law added extra fees, such as $1,000 over three years, for traveling more than 81 miles an hour on a road. Some residents applauded Kaine's request to repeal the rules, because the law doesn't apply to out-of-state drivers and just don't seem to be working.

"If it's not going to be for everyone, then we shouldn't have it at all," says Eunice Meadows, an area resident.

Another resident, Paul Schecht, says, "We keyed it to help with traffic problems and it hasn't done what the expected it to do. I think they should just drop it."

Some lawmakers say the law can be fixed. Delegate Chris Saxman says making sure the law applies to everyone is the first priority.

"That's what got people upset, when you exempted people from DC, Maryland, West Virginia and North Carolina from crossing the line," says Saxman.

Delegate Matt Lohr says the term abusive driving needs to be redefined.

"Your multiple DUIs, eluding police, those are some pretty serious offenses. Some of the other minor offenses with traffic signals and not pulling over are probably not quite as serious," says Lohr.

Saxman says the law is important for safety, especially in the Valley, which sees more than its share of accidents blamed on bad driving along interstates 81 and 64.

"When you live on the 81 corridor, you need to crack down on speed and put some disincentives on speeding, especially on 81. That was always my primary concern when voting on the bill," says Saxman.

The General Assembly will still have to address the funding issue. The fees were supposed to bring in $60 million for the $500 million transportation budget. However, Virginia only gathered a little more than $2 million since the fees went into effect in 2007.


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