Va. GOP looks to alter bad driving rules

Aug. 23, 2007 at 2:37 PM

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have announced plans to overhaul the state's divisive abusive-driving fees.

Republican leaders in the state's legislature said the fees, which range from $750 to $3,000, would be applied as well to out-of-state motorists and the list of offenses that warrant the fees would be limited, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The fees were originally adopted to target reckless and drunken drivers, but the state's broad reckless driving statute led to hefty fines for driving 20 mph over the speed limit and other formerly minor offenses.

Sen. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, said Republicans were driven to act by the public outcry over the penalties. He said the rules are harming public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"We lost the confidence of the people on this issue, and we need to fix it," Stolle said.

The Post said GOP lawmakers are concerned that public opposition to the statute could hurt their party in the Nov. 6 elections.

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