Gosh. This over a punishment being assessed against those who, in truth, shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car in the first place.
It's time for an adult to explain all this. Delegate Sam Nixon (R-Chesterfield), to the podium:
Avoid Egregious Offenses, and Fees Will Pose No ProblemThose of you, after reading this, who still believe the fees to be an affront to everything we hold dear should take into account the alternative proposed by non-politicians like me: These reckless, mindless, heedless owners/operators of seriously dangerous weapons - automobiles - should be imprisoned for having proven to be - over and over again - incapable of, or unwilling to obey our laws. Fees schmees. Get 'em off the road! They kill!
By Sam Nixon, Richmond Times-Dispatch Guest Columnist
There's been a lot of discussion about Virginia's newly enacted abusive-driver fees lately. Disappointingly, much of the information that has been distributed casually through Internet blogs and elsewhere has been incomplete, misleading, and -- in some cases -- completely false.
Only about 2.5 percent of Virginia's motorists will ever be subjected to abusive-driver fees. The overwhelming majority of offenses subject to abuser fees are felonies or misdemeanors involving the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs while driving, vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving after being declared a habitual offender, or driving on a revoked license. These are offenses that are so serious they are punishable by jail time and will never be committed by the vast majority of Virginia
Because these fees are strictly limited to those drivers committing the most egregious offenses and to those who show a repeated disregard for the laws of Virginia's roadways, more than 97 percent of Virginia's drivers will never have to pay a single cent in abuser fees. (link)
And for those newspaper editorialists who believe that these fees came about (whether suggested by Governor Kaine or by someone in the Republican-controlled legislature) as "part of a compromise transportation package cobbled together during the last General Assembly session," this will come - apparently - as a complete surprise:
Of all the components of the Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007, abuser fees enjoyed the most widespread support in the General Assembly. They were included in Gov. Kaine's transportation plan, the House's transportation plan, and the Senate's transportation plan. With such bipartisan agreement, it is little wonder that these fees were included in the final compromise.This wasn't some backroom "cobbled compromise." The abuser fees were part of the transportation plan(s) all along.
My suggestion to all of you is this: Learn the facts. This is a good thing. Lives will be saved. And take your medications.