public turns against drivers fees

Brent Finnegan -- July 20th, 2007

Not surprisingly, the tide of public opinion has undoubtedly turned against the new driver fees imposed on the voting public by the General Assembly earlier this month. Everyone is talking about it. There’s even an unofficial online petition to pressure General Assembly to hold a special summer session to repeal HB3202.

Like most other House Republicans, Harrisonburg delegate Matt Lohr voted to enact these fees.

Last week I found out that a friend of mine (an H’burg resident with an impeccable driving record) got one of these tickets. This person has to go to court, and will email me the results of the proceedings next week.

19 Responses to “public turns against drivers fees”

  1. David Miller says:

    Finn, I don’t know if we know the same person but my friend who got one of these tickets doesn’t even own a car. Ironically he was traveling with someone from New York who cannot get the punitive fines.

  2. Bubby says:

    Not only did Matt Lohr (and Chris Saxman) vote for the Abuser Fees, they voted for them 4 times over 2 years as they worked their way to law.

    This is particularly appalling as Mr. Saxman is one of those Republicans that signed Grover Norquist’s “no tax pledge”. I’ve lost all respect for both of these guys. Apparently they lost respect for me about 2 years ago.

  3. Franak J Wit says:

    Bubby, I recon they thought the No Tax doesn’t count. They may not consider this a “tax” but rather an “attack” on the common citizen.

    Guide me and inform my vote!

  4. Grozet says:

    He “got one of these tickets”. Way to be vague and show how unaccountable blogs can be! This post does a complete disservice to everyone who reads this blog and adds to the public’s lack of knowledge and panic about this issue. I expect to see a follow up post that tells us a) the fee involved levied b) what this impeccable driver did.

  5. finnegan says:

    Unaccountable? What did I just say? I said this person will email me the results of the proceedings “next week.”

    If I get the email, I will post it here, so others can learn more about what it all means.

    Learn to read before you write and make baseless accusations.

  6. cook says:

    the charge of “reckless driving” is written quite often, including many “fender benders” and including driving in excess of 80 mph on interstate 81. reckless driving is “one of these tickets” where a $1050 non-fine/non-tax will be assessed over two years.

    many good drivers involved in a minor accident are told by the officer “i have to write a ticket any time there is an accident” when they are charged with reckless driving.

  7. Grozet says:

    The Abusive Driver fees apply to more than one offense and there are different kinds of fees. Therefore, “one of these tickets” is too vague to base a current and a future post on. You add to the panic because in a rush to jump on the bandwagon against these fees you make a post without all of the information or for any way observers can verify the information.

    Gov. Kaine had a study done on these fees. The study concluded the fees, if applied in the prior five years, would only impact 2.5% of drivers. These 2.5% of drivers coincidentally cause 25% of congestion! MAYBE that is a number you should be writing about.

  8. JGFitzgerald says:


    Congestion, presumably, means traffic that is slow-moving or halted because there is not enough room on the available road for all the cars. If that is so, then how can someone cause congestion by driving above the speed limit? I’m not panicking. I’m just curious.

  9. Bubby says:

    These 2.5% of drivers coincidentally cause 25% of congestion! MAYBE that is a number you should be writing about.

    Blog rule #1 violation. No accompanying citation, suspicious and self-serving use of factoid. Unauthorized and unwarranted assumption of authority.

  10. Daytonres says:

    “had a study done.” That’s pretty vague. Do you have a link or the name of this “study?” How is an observer to verify your information? Hypocrite says what?

  11. JGFitzgerald says:

    I remember reading a study somewhere, maybe on the Internets, that said 2.5 percent of bloggers cause 25 percent of the ill will and confusion. Did anybody else see that?

  12. finnegan says:

    @ JMU deserved better: this blog has been running for over a year, and yours is the first non-spam comment I’ve ever deleted.

    I will not tolerate name-calling on this blog. If you have a problem with someone, take it up with them in person. Don’t make baseless accusations like “that guy is an idiot.”

  13. Grozet says:

    so being a bit of a contrarian lands me in the “idiot” category! Anyway, thank you Finnegan for being a stand up guy.

    Here is the link you would all enjoy. It is a release by Speaker Howell titled “THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH,

    I quote “These abuser fees are targeted at chronic and dangerous drivers. The Kaine Administration estimates
    that about 2.5% of Virginians will actually have to pay them. Despite that low number, these bad drivers
    are estimated to be responsible for more than 25% of all congestion on Virginia roadways”.

    or if you prefer a published article:

  14. Bubby says:

    Michigan instituted “abuser fees” in 2003. How did that work out.

    The licenses of tens of thousands of motorists in New Jersey and Michigan have been suspended because they cannot afford the fees, and little evidence has emerged that such fines improve highway safety, according to state officials and studies.

    I think it is a very destructive piece of legislation that is designed primarily for revenue purposes and is disguised as a highway safety measure,” said William C. Buhl, a Circuit Court judge in Van Buren County, Mich. In my opinion, it increases the dangers on the highways because it creates an enormous, growing pool of unlicensed motorists.

    Hmmm. Not so good. Too bad the Virginia Republicans didn’t know about that.

    When Buhl heard that Virginia lawmakers were considering the fees last year, he e-mailed all 140 legislators, explaining why he thought the program was a failure in Michigan, which began assessing the fees in 2003. No one responded, Buhl said.

    Really? Well it worked in New Jersey right?

    New Jersey issues about 800,000 license suspension notices a year, a quarter of which result when people are unable to pay the surcharges, according to the New Jersey Treasury Department. A 2001 study by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice found that the suspensions were creating a permanent underclass.

    Under pressure to repeal the fees, the state commissioned a study last year that found that although only 16 percent of residents live in low-income areas, those neighborhoods house nearly 40 percent of the people whose licenses have been suspended for failure to pay fees and fines.

    So they can’t afford to pay the fees, that results in a license suspension…what do you think they’ll do if a cop tries to pull them over?

    Officials in Michigan and New Jersey say Virginians should brace for problems, including clogged courts and the prospect of thousands of residents having to choose between keeping their licenses and paying their bills.

    Virginia Enacted Bad-Driver Fees Despite Red Flags

    And rather than read Speaker Howell’s self-serving propaganda, why not read for yourself what traffic infractions will get you a “abuser fee”:
    Virginia Civil Remedial Fees (scroll to the end of the document for a menu of offenses and fees). And whatever you do, don’t allow that out-of-state speed trap charge to go unchallenged – those points will be used by the DMV to calculate your “abuser fees”.

  15. CommonSense says:

    Any study that purports to show that 2.5% of drivers cause and ESTIMATED 25% defies reason. Anyone who believes it needs to check their naivety at the door.

  16. Grozet says:

    Commonsense, consider what happens when a crash occurs due a reckless driver. Everyone stops and gawks. It makes sense. If you disagree, I would suggest questioning Gov. Kaine and the folks who did his research. Using the word naive does not buy you any credibility. Commonsense like anything else has to be backed up.

    Also, in response to the guy who likes to quote the Washington Post, you missed a HUGE detail. In NJ and in Michigan the fees must be paid in the period of one or two years.

    In Virginia, the fees are to be paid over the period of three years, which allows poor folks the ability to pay without giving up their ability to drive.

    I hope you do not support a repeal of this law. If you do you will be giving aid to those chronic and dangerous drivers who cause our highways to be unsafe. This includes the lower offenses that are covered under this bill. Such as driving with out a license and accruing multiple speeding tickets. Driving without a license brings about problems of having insurance during a crash and speeding too often means you are putting the lives of others at risk. Do you really feel this way?

    The law can be tweaked in such a way to make it more practical, especially finding a way to make out of state drivers pay. An outright repeal would tacitly tell Virginia drivers that it is OK to driver recklessly.

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