Driving Fines Upset Virginia Drivers

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

Virginia's new abusive driver fees are not sitting well with tens of thousands of Virginians. The laws are only a couple weeks old, and already people are saying they have to go.

An online petition has received tens of thousands of signatures since it began July 6th.

The new fees took effect July 1st. They were intended to raise up to $65 million dollars for transportation funding.

However, the new fees to raise green, have many drivers seeing red. Chris Dorrier of Fluvanna County says, “I don't think it's fair. I think it's an easy way for state government to raise money and fix the roadways when they couldn't do it another way."

One of the most controversial measures is that these fees only apply to Virginia drivers. That means out of state motorists are exempt.

Dorrier says, "I think if it was equal punishment to every resident of the United States, [including] visitors passing through, maybe it would be more just."

Petitions and public outcry have gotten the attention of Virginia lawmakers.

Virginia Delegate Rob Bell says, "Most of us, including me would like to change the difference between in state and out of state drivers. That's something that regardless of how you feel about the fees that we'd like to fix."

Bell says lawmakers will look at the abuser fees and issues people are raising over the next couple weeks, to see if there are some that need to be fixed right away.

Not all the laws have drivers feeling road rage.

"We're not going to change the drunk driving laws and it's obvious that we're not going to make it easier to drive drunk, but there may be certain things within the list that are not, like driving drunk and certainly fix those," Delegate Bell says.

Lawmakers are assembling a list of problems and concerns with the fees. Delegate Bell says some may be addressed by administrative action by the governor while others may require the full legislature's vote.

Trough a spokesperson, Governor Tim Kaine said he remains open to the possibility of changing the charges for the driving fees.

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