Speeding is known to be one of the main causes of accidents and fatalities on Virginia roads. Speeding can be defined simply as driving well over the speed limit which has been posted or at a speed which is very inappropriate provided the driving conditions (for instance; rain, fog, traffic on the roads, traffic flow). There are numerous people who believe that speeding is simply driving over the given speed limit. However, speeding is also considered as reckless driving at a speed which is not suitable for the driving conditions, for example rain, fog, traffic and the traffic flow.
A House bill was introduced during a Regular Session of the Virginia General Assembly to increase penalties for the failure to stop or yield or failure to obey a traffic signal at a controlled intersection. This leads to a fined offense under reckless driving. If the violation of either of these statutes caused an accident, which causes serious injury or death, then it would be considered a criminal offense rather than a traffic offense. It would then addressed and the punishment of reckless driving has 13 very particular and specific offenses.
The Criminal Offenses for Reckless Driving
The thirteen specific offenses with evidence that a driver has committed one of the prohibited acts under reckless driving, then if guilty, then punishment would be consistent with Class 1 misdemeanor. These thirteen offenses include:
- Overtaking or passing an ambulance vehicle that is operating with its lights or siren
- Operating a transportation vehicle which “cannot be controlled” or is “not adequate to operate or handle” with improper brakes
- Overtaking or passing by a transportation vehicle on a curve or while approaching a grade or crest
- Driving a transportation vehicle (which is loaded with goods) in such a way to obstruct the other driver’s view or prevent the control for the other vehicle
- Passing two vehicles from an opposite direction
- Driving or passing by a vehicle abreast in a single lane and in the same direction
- Passing or overtaking at a railroad crossing
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Failing to give an adequate sign or timely signal while turning, slowing down or completely stopping.
- Driving way too fast for conditions
- Exceeding the prescribed speed limit by 20 mph or more or above 80 mph
- Failure to stop at an entrance to a highway from the side road
- Racing one, or two or even more cars on highways, parking lots or roads which are open to public
In addition to these specific criminal actions related to speeding or reckless driving, there are two general offenses that also penalize reckless driving as a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is the ‘Reckless Driving: General Rule,’ which states that irrespective of the maximum speed limitations imposed by the law, any person found driving a vehicle recklessly on any highway in a manner or so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any other person shall be guilty of reckless driving.