When you cross over into Prince William County from Fairfax County on Interstate 95, you may notice a sign that proclaims the stretch of road to be a “Highway Safety Corridor.” It promises higher fines and stepped-up enforcement for traffic violations in this area. Unless you have been pulled over for a violation in this area, you have probably never given the sign a second thought. If you have been pulled over here, however, you probably will always pay attention to the sign in the future. This is because the financial penalties for committing a violation in this area are incredibly steep.
Virginia’s Traffic Safety Corridors
There are three of these corridors in Virginia. One is outside of Richmond on I-95, another is around Roanoke on I-81 and the other is the one mentioned above which is the subject of this article. The program of creating these corridors was authorized by the General Assembly in 2003 and is founded under the principle that certain stretches of road are inherently dangerous based on statistical data regarding crash frequency, road characteristics, and truck accident rates, among other factors. In short, they were created to protect drivers in areas where severe accidents are judged to happen too frequently and where the accidents are attributed to driving behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, and other improper behaviors.
Why Does it Matter?
Getting pulled over for a traffic violation in a Highway Safety Corridor matters to the average driver because the program allows for increased penalties in these areas. You may be thinking that “it is just a speeding ticket. How much could that cost me?” The answer is a lot!
A speeding ticket in these areas can result in a fine of up to $500. A criminal offense, such as reckless driving or aggressive driving can result in a fine of up to $2500. It must be noted here that reckless driving, for example, is a Class One misdemeanor in Virginia and is already punishable by a $2500 maximum fine. However, fines for reckless driving rarely reach such an exorbitant amount. For accidents that take place in a Highway Safety Corridor, though, judges have increased motivation to impose a higher fine. The same is true of a speeding ticket. Although estimates vary depending on where you get your information, a speeding ticket of less than 15 miles per hour over the limit will typically get you a fine of between $100 and $200. Again, though, for speeding in a safety corridor, the judge is more inclined to impose a harsher fine.
Obviously, it behooves drivers to follow the law in Highway Safety Corridors. As we all know, this doesn’t always happen. If you have been charged with a violation or a crime in one of these areas, you face enhanced penalties. Although the motivation behind the establishment of safety corridors is good, the Commonwealth still needs to prove that you are guilty. Consider hiring a defense attorney to help you with your defense. Jad Sarsour has been defending Northern Virginia drivers for over a decade. Give him a call at (571) 261-7314 to set up your initial consultation. Call today and begin defending your rights to get the results you deserve.