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News Virginia Speed Limits

  1. May 8, 2010 #1
    To all who live or drive in Virginia:

    A bill passed to increase the speed limit in virginia on rural interstate highways to 70 MPH from 65 MPH. This in itself is not bad, however consider the following:

    In Virginia, driving 20 MPH or more above posted speed is reckless driving. Additionally, driving at any speed above 80 MPH is reckless driving regardless of the posted speed limit. The penalty for reckless driving is mandatory court appearance, a fine of $750, and possible jail time(although jail time is rarely imposed).

    Just think of the possible circumstance, you are driving at a speed which is safe for the traffic, say maybe 73 MPH and then there is someone going 60 in the right lane. You change lanes to pass and in order to not cause a danger for the faster drivers in that lane, you speed up to 81 MPH. This would be considered reckless driving. It is not hard in traffic especially to be doing 11 miles over the speed limit for a short time. Those of us who live here know Virginia police probably will give reckless driving tickets for such.

    I suggest as many as care should write to their state senators and congressman and request at least that since the speed limit is increased by 5 MPH, the reckless driving threshold also be increased by 5 MPH.

    Here is a link below to find your representatives:
    http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2010 #2
    Interesting thread, Josh. I will take a look at the link you provided. It's nice to see a well though out thread in these parts for a change. A friend of mine got a reckless charge when he was driving a family member to Dulles Int. I think he was going around 20 over, and the cop said he could not give him a ticket with a fine and fees, but a ticket saying show up to court and have a talk with the judge. Needless to say, he got really worried. :biggrin:
     
  4. May 8, 2010 #3
    Why can't you just pass the 60 mph car with your 73 mph speed? Easy enough.
    If you have to go faster to avoid oncoming traffic, then you SHOULD NOT pass the vehicle at that time.
     
  5. May 9, 2010 #4

    DaveC426913

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    pallidin may have misunderstood. There is no oncoming traffic. You are talking about a 4 lane highway, not a 2 lane highway, to wit:

    "You change lanes to pass and in order to not cause a danger for the faster drivers in that lane..."

    i.e. the other cars are coming up behind you in the centre lane.
     
  6. May 9, 2010 #5

    DaveC426913

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    I grant the general validity of your concern. The law has reduced the margin between "maximum speed limit" and "reckless driving" from 15mph to 10mph.

    But your argument is flawed:

    Why would one have to go faster than the speed limit in the passing lane to pass a car in the right lane doing 60? There is no such valid rationale as "...in order to not cause a danger for the faster drivers in that lane..." No driver is enititled to a particular speed in the passing lane.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  7. May 9, 2010 #6


    If you are honestly asking this question, then it is very clear you do not own a car, or have not driven on an interstate in Virginia. I've gone down I-495 "with the flow" 70+ mph, with undercover cop cars easily passing me at 80 mph. It would be quite dangerous to go down an interstate at 60 mph.
     
  8. May 9, 2010 #7

    DaveC426913

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    I am a very experienced driver. But I know that "what everyone does" does not make it legal. The law has merely made it harder for people to break the law and get away with it, while aiding legal drivers.
     
  9. May 9, 2010 #8
    Well, fortunately, that's not how it works in the real world. Honestly, I wouldn't want a police state where the moment you go over 60 you get a ticket.
     
  10. May 9, 2010 #9
    What Josh is arguing makes sense. If the rule is currently 65/80 then rescaling would put the corresponding limits at 75/85 (--given cognizant law makers and all that...)
     
  11. May 9, 2010 #10
    How about a state where the speed limit is 80, and the moment you go over 80 you get a ticket? Same road that's currently a 65 or a 70.

    Somewhere along the line, "Speed Limit" has gone from "maximum speed" to "minimum speed."

    I personally think highway speed limits need to be done away with, because traffic conditions change so dramatically. At 2am, when you're the only car on the road, the maximum speed allowed should NOT be the same as 4pm with everybody starting to filter out of work. Similarly, the speed near several exists should be slower than the occasional long stretches between exits.

    I'd be ok with a speed limit of "reasonable and prudent."


    Edit: I should add that I used to speed all the time, and by a fair amount over the speed limit. At one point, I had 8 points on my license, and one more ticket would have made me lose it. Even so, I never in my life felt comfortable going 81 miles per hour in traffic like the OP is suggesting. If you're passing somebody at 81 miles per hour, you're probably driving recklessly, regardless of the speed limit.
     
  12. May 9, 2010 #11
    How true! Further, the traffic patterns on 495, 395, 95, 270 (MD), etc. often control the speed around the Beltway. As for 95 South (past 495)...if it doesn't flow at 70+ traffic could be backed up into downtown.:eek:

    I think they need to consider road design, terrain, and traffic patterns when setting speed limits. There are sections of highway in the mountains that demand a 20 mph rate at times (weather conditions). At the same time, in many places around the state an 80 mph rate is the traffic flow norm - with police (apparently) picking out the drivers who pass and swerve the most - they ARE reckless in many cases.
     
  13. May 9, 2010 #12

    Borg

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    If 80 is defined as reckless why would you need to speed up to 81 in order to not cause a danger for the faster drivers in the left lane? If you are looking forward far enough, there should be no problem with merging into another lane. If the people in the left lane are going so fast and tightly bunched that I still couldn't get over, then I would stay out of that accident waiting to happen. :rolleyes:

    [PLAIN]http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Politics/Images/nascar-staten-island-crash.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. May 9, 2010 #13
    A constant speed of 80 mph, with proper spacing, a flat terrain, good visibility, and good road conditions would not be defined as reckless. A single vehicle weaving in and out of lanes, speeding enough to pass and braking to swerve back into a lane, etc. - this is clearly reckless behavior (at ANY speed).
     
  15. May 9, 2010 #14

    Borg

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    Officer, how can you say that I was reckless? I had proper spacing, a flat terrain, good visibility, and good road conditions.

    Good luck with that excuse if the state defines reckless as traveling over 80 as described in the OP. I'm not saying that I disagree with you in principal - it's the cop that you have to convince.
     
  16. May 9, 2010 #15

    russ_watters

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    ....except insofar as the existing law isn't enforced, so what basis is there for believing the new law would be?
     
  17. May 9, 2010 #16

    Hurkyl

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    I agree that speeds should be affected by road conditions -- if, while on a road good for 65 MPH travel, you find yourself in a dense pack of cars or nearing a congested on/off ramp, you probably slow down to 55 MPH or less. But that's no reason why there should not be a posting of the safe speed under good conditions.

    The problem is not that there is a posted speed -- the problem is that people read it as the number they should exceed by 10 MPH, rather than the number they should not exceed even under good conditions.
     
  18. May 9, 2010 #17
    Sometimes you have to break the law. I295 in NJ, the left lane is for passing only. So you're going along at the speed limit in the right lane when you come up on a slower vehicle. You merge into the left lane to pass, but when you're beside him he decides to speed up. (One of my pet peeves is drivers who do not use cruse control and cannot/do not regulate their speed). Now you're both running side by side at the speed limit when another vehicle comes up behind you in the left lane. He is speeding and wants to get by you. What do you do? Since you are no longer passing anyone, you are in the left lane illegally - breaking the law. If you speed up in order to continue passing then you will be speeding - breaking another law. Another option is to slow down and then merge back into the right lane after the car beside you has passed. But this is sometimes not a good option because other cars may now be behind the car beside you. This option would really upset the guy behind you. You're trapped.

    I've had the above scenario happen many times. But one time in particular the guy behind me turned on his siren and flashers. It was an unmarked police car. I thought he wanted to pull me over. But in order to pull over I had to get in the right lane. So I increased my speed to get around the car beside me. But when I got back into the right lane the police car just continued on his way. All he wanted was for me to get out of the passing lane. I don't think he was in an emergency situation because he was not going very much faster than I was. And he turned his flashers and siren on for a second to get my attention.

    I think it's more important to drive according to conditions than it is to strictly obey the speed limits.

    By 95 south, are you referring to the stretch of 95 between DC and Fredericksburg? I drive up and down the east cost a lot and this is my most hated stretch of highway. Depending on the time of day you can be going 70mph one minute and at a complete stop the next minute. Very bad if you're driving a 5-speed.

    In regards to the op, I'm not really worried about it. As russ pointed out, the existing law is not strictly enforced. As long as you go with the flow and don't do anything stupid you're unlikely to get a ticket.
     
  19. May 9, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    I once drove home to Philadelphia from Quantaco on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving...in a five-speed. It was far and away the worst driving experience I've ever had: 7+ hours of stop-and-go driving.
     
  20. May 9, 2010 #19
    Wow, 7+ hours from Quantico to Philly. That is bad.
     
  21. May 9, 2010 #20

    Borg

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    150 miles / 7.5 hours -> 20 MPH. :yuck:

    I spent over an hour and a half driving the 20 miles from Springfield to Quantico last October on a Friday afternoon. That is a brutal stretch. Drives like that are why I decided not to get a stick in my current car. Thankfully, I don't have to drive through it very often.
     
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