You know the feeling. You’ve been driving along, aware that you were going over the speed limit but sure that you would never be caught. Then you see the flashing blue lights.
Sometimes you’re just in a hurry. Sometimes you’re just not paying attention. Sometimes you need answer the call of nature.
But speeding is always illegal and law enforcement in Virginia doesn’t plan to let you forget that.
Law enforcement officers are out there to enforce the speed limit and to increase highway safety. They more than anyone know the dangers of high speed driving.
A 2014 study by the Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute showed that four states had posted speed limits as high as 80 mph. At least 38 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadways. In 2010, Virginia raised the highway speed limit to 70 mph.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says that speed related deaths account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year with a toll of nearly 10,000 lives.
Also in 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated the cost of crashes involving vehicles going over the speed limit or too fast for road conditions cost around $59 billion in 2010. That averages out to $191 for every person in the U.S.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, Virginia ranks 7th in the Top 10 “driving citation states.” Virginia is tied with Illinois for having the highest speeding fines in the nation. And in Virginia, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Still, drivers like to speed. There’s always the attitude that you won’t be the one to get caught. Until you are. It’s also true that you’re likely to find yourself facing a speeding fine in some areas of Virginia more than others.
Take a look at where tickets have most often been reported in the Richmond metro region.
In Chesterfield County, law enforcement noted the following over a nine month period.
- 124 tickets were given out in the 6000 block of Hopkins Road near Hopkins Elementary. The regular speed limit of 45 drops to 25 in the school zone.
- 72 tickets were written in the 13400 block of Hull Street Road near Commonwealth Center Shopping Center. If you want to get to the movie on time, leave earlier.
- 66 tickets were written in the 12700 block of Robious Road near Salisbury.
In Henrico County from June 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 the following areas were the three most ticketed.
- 775 tickets were written on Parham Road at the Willey Bridge. It’s a nice bridge, but there’s a speed limit. Slow down and enjoy the view of the dam.
- 447 violations were cited on Hungary Road at Royerton Drive
- Not far from Laburnum Avenue, 443 tickets were handed out on Mechanicsville Turnpike at Springdale Road.
And in the City of Richmond over the past 12 months:
- 345 speeding tickets were given out in the 4000 block of Midlothian Turnpike near George Wythe High School.
- 198 tickets were given out in the 700 block of South Belvidere Street near VCU.
- In the 1500 block of Commerce Road, 135 tickets were issued.
Elsewhere in the state, The Staunton News Leader says that Virginia State Police numbers in the area show that between 2010 and 2014 troopers wrote 23,506 speeding tickets. Those numbers don’t include citations for reckless driving, which is often speed-related.
South of Richmond the stretch of I-295 has been such a revenue generator for the City of Hopewell that the General Assembly took action in the 2015 Session. The area running along the western side of the town has been dubbed the “million dollar mile” because revenue from tickets reached almost $2 million annually.
According to Martha Meade with AAA Mid-Atlantic it was clear to AAA and “to a majority of legislators that the problem Hopewell is trying to solve with police is a financial one, not a safety issue.”
An amendment to the state budget reduced the financial incentive for the Hopewell and other localities hoping to curb the incentive to write an excessive amount of tickets. The new formula lowers the threshold for determining whether local fine collections are excessive. Localities will be required to remit more of that money to the Literary Fund. The new formula went into effect on July 1.
Still if you’re traveling on I-295 outside of Hopewell or anywhere else in the Commonwealth, it’s probably a good idea to obey the speed limit.