Speed limit bump could mean more reckless driving charges

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You could soon be cruising Virginia's interstates at 70 miles per hour, and not be breaking the law. Both the Virginia House and Senate have passed Governor Bob McDonnell's plan to up the limit.

But this increase limit does put you closer to breaking another law. Even though the speed limit will jump up by 5 miles an hour, the reckless driving standard remains at 80.
That means if you get caught going just 11 miles over the speed limit in one of these new 70 mile per hour zones. You could face a fine of up to $2,500 or even six months in jail.
This is not new to Virginia. A lengthy section of I-85 in Southern Virginia has been at 70 miles per hour for some time. The reckless driving limit there is still only 80 miles per hour. In most speed zones, you need to be driving more than 20 miles over the limit to be in danger of a reckless driving ticket. But 80 is the cap. So when you hit one of these 70 mile per hour zones, be careful because going just 11 miles over the limit can lead to stiff fines and penalties.
"Its punishable by maximum of a 6 month license suspension and a 25 hundred dollar fine," said Shane Jimison, a Richmond attorney. "(It includes) substantial jail time up to 12 months can be imposed as well."
Jimison went on to say that this move could easily help put some much needed revenue into the state and local coffers.
This bump in the speed limit is not a done deal quite yet. Both houses need to pass each other's version of the bill and the governor needs to sign it. At this point that appears to be inevitable.

You can see extended clips from our interview with Shane Jimison on the implications of this switch and on our political blog:  DecisionVirginia.com

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