Legislature to Look Again at Driver Fines

Legislative leaders are feeling the public backlash against the new "abusive driver" fees by promising to reconsider at least some of them during the next General Assembly session. The fees took effect July 1.

They were supposed to be assessed only for the most serious traffic offenses, such as drunken driving. But the hefty fees also can be levied for less serious offenses like driving too fast for road conditions.

House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith of Salem says that was a mistake. But the aspect of the fees drawing the most anger is the fact that they apply only to Virginia drivers. Nearly 38,000 people have signed an Internet petition demanding repeal of the fees.

Virginia Beach Senator Kenneth Stolle said lawmakers probably will try to limit the fees to "truly reckless drivers." He says legislators also want to collect the fees from out-of-state motorists.

Governor Tim Kaine supports abusive driver fees but said through a spokesman yesterday that he "remains open to the possibility" of revising the charges.

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