I'm talking to you and your inflated speeding fines, Virginia

  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/melancon/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.

OK, this is also personal, but of far less importance.

I got nailed at 3 a.m. in Virginia going down to Atlanta. The state trooper was fairly reasonable, and the fine was too, $75 for going 75 mph in a 60 mph zone (the officer alleged he could have thrown a special zone that was just behind, or a few more miles per hour on my speed, that would have upped the price a lot).

The $50 fee for paying the fine, however, was obnoxious: "We're ripping you off because we can. We're the government!" (Although I suppose all the fees and fines imposed on us by private companies are even more obnoxious. No legislative process, just "what can we do to shift money to us from you today?")

Turns out this is a popular trend with state governments to raise money in this intrusive, inefficient way. Including, specifically, Virginia:

Michigan charges $1,000 over the fine amount for driving 20 mph over the legal limit. New Jersey raises $130 million a year through supplemental state fines. Texas cashes in to the tune of $300 million. Other states, including Florida, are considering similar laws. The War on Speederists has reached its fastest boil in Virginia, where the extra fines can run over $2,500. Exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 mph, for example, earns motorists a $200 fine plus a $1,050 "civil remedial fee." In addition, reports the Washington Post, "drivers with points on their licenses--a speeding ticket usually earns four points--will be hit for $75 for every point above eight and $100 for having that many points in the first place."

This is taxation without representation to the extend that it targets people passing through on interstates and regressive in that the rich will have their lawyers fight the fines, and workers will pay, if they can afford it.

This is an area with normal driving speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour in the daytime, but it's harder to pull you out of all those cars than in the middle of the night. So it's the unfortunate folk on the road at 3 a.m. that get nailed, even though there's also less danger of hitting others when driving in the night.

In my case I was driving at fairly erratic speeds between 65 and 75 mph while I tried to stay awake, doing my shift of driving a carful of people to the first-ever United States Social Forum. In this context of endangering the people in my car, permanently taking away my license would have been a reasonable action, but only if they replaced it with a functioning and affordable public transportation.

Comments

Correction: the most excessive Virginia fines were resident-only

...before being ruled unconstitutional.
http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=2978898

Good stuff in the comments on the general topic in the comments.

Most salient: In no circumstances should an individual or agency responsible for enforcing a law directly financially benefit from doing so.

It's an incentive to develop a parasitic relationship to the behavior the law is targeting (erratic enforcement of speeding laws, anyone?) and to target people less able to fight the penalty in court.