Traffic Law Frequently Asked Questions
We have collected some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about traffic law offenses. Here, you can learn about many traffic offenses in Virginia, common defenses to these charges, and more by browsing our FAQs.
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What is the difference between a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with speeding as reckless driving?
You may not realize the difference between receiving a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with reckless driving in Virginia because the police do not put handcuffs on you and take you to the police station when arresting you for reckless driving. Instead, they give you a summons to appear at court that looks similar to the traffic ticket you would receive for speeding. However, there are four crucial differences between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge.
#1: Traffic Infraction vs. Misdemeanor Offense
If you get a ticket for speeding, it is a traffic infraction. Reckless driving is a crime in Virginia. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense and carries harsher penalties and long-term consequences.
#2: Penalties for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving
If you receive a speeding ticket, you cannot be sentenced to jail, and the maximum fine that you could have to pay is $250. Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, the penalty is much more severe. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and have to pay a fine of up to $2,500.
#3: Points on Your Driving Record for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving
Points will be assessed on your driving record for speeding and reckless driving. If you are ticketed for speeding, you can be assessed as little as three points. However, you would have six demerit points added if you are convicted of reckless driving. Here are ways this could affect you:
- You may have your driver’s license suspended if you accumulate too many points within a relatively short period of time.
- Your insurance costs will increase more if you have more points on your driving record.
#4: No Criminal Record for Speeding vs. Criminal Record for Reckless Driving
You will not have a permanent criminal record if you pay a speeding ticket because it is only a traffic infraction. You will have a permanent criminal record if you plead guilty to or are convicted of reckless driving. This can have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain a job, security clearance, housing, and more.
Were you ticketed for speeding or charged with reckless driving? Our experienced traffic law attorneys are here to explain the consequences you face and how we can build a strong defense so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
When can speeding be charged as reckless driving in Virginia?
Speeding is a serious traffic offense that can result in large fines and points on your driving record in Virginia. However, in some cases, speeding can be charged as reckless driving, which is a much more serious crime that has more severe penalties and long-term consequences in your life.
When Can You Be Charged With Reckless Driving for Speeding?
One of the most common ways that a person can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia is for speeding. Under Virginia Code § 46.2-862, speeding can be elevated to reckless driving in these two situations:
- Driving 20 mph or more in excess of the applicable speed limit
- Driving 80 mph no matter what the posted speed limit is
It is not that difficult to violate this law, especially on the highways around Norfolk, where the speed limit is 70 mph and many drivers are driving at a much faster speed than that.
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
If you are convicted of reckless driving for speeding, you face harsh penalties. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor crime. The punishments include:
- Fine of up to $2,500
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- Driver’s license suspension of up to 12 months
- Six demerit points on your driving record
Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, you would also have a permanent criminal record. This can have long-term term consequences on many aspects of your life, such as:
- Increased insurance costs
- Security clearance
- Additional driver’s license suspension if you accumulate too many demerit points over a relatively short period of time
Contact Us for the Legal Representation You Need
Were you charged with reckless driving for speeding? Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can mount a strong defense for you so that the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. It is important to understand that you may have good defenses even if you know you were speeding. To find out more about how we can help you, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.
Will a reckless driving conviction affect my insurance premiums?
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If you are convicted of this offense, you will face a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a $2,500 fine, and long-term consequences, such as a permanent criminal record. Another ramification you need to be aware of is how a conviction could affect your car insurance premiums.
Does Virginia Have an Insurance Point System?
Some states have an insurance point system, and drivers convicted of reckless driving or other traffic offenses would have insurance points placed on their record that could impact the cost of their insurance premiums. Virginia does not have this type of system.
Our commonwealth does have a demerit system that can result in points being added to a person’s driving record, but this is different than insurance points. Six demerit points would be added for a reckless driving conviction.
How Reckless Driving Can Impact on Your Insurance Costs
In Virginia, insurance companies may have their own point systems or policies on how a reckless driving conviction will affect insurance premium costs. The amount of increase will depend on the insurance company, but many individuals will see their insurance costs increase significantly for up to three years. Here are some guidelines on insurance premium costs:
- If a driver convicted of reckless driving that also caused injuries or property damage over a certain amount, this could result in a greater insurance premium increase, especially if victims were injured. However, the insurance company may also consider whether the driver is over 21 years old, the length of time he has been with the insurance company, and his driving record in determining the insurance cost.
- If a driver is a new or inexperienced driver, the increase in insurance premiums could be greater than for an older driver. Some insurance companies have a policy of adding one point to their system if a driver is young or inexperienced.
How to Avoid the Harsh Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction
The best way to avoid the severe punishments and long-term consequences of a reckless driving conviction is to retain an experienced reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged with this offense. He can mount a strong defense that can result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To find out how we will aggressively defend you, call our office in Norfolk to schedule a free consultation today.
What are the potential penalties for driving under the influence with a child in the car?
Any conviction for DUI in Virginia comes with harsh penalties, such as a jail sentence and hefty fines, and long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record. However, you could face additional charges and more severe punishments if you had a child in your vehicle when you were arrested for DUI.
What Charges Could You Face If You Are Arrested for DUI With a Child in Your Car?
If you are caught driving while intoxicated with a minor child who is 17 years old or younger in your vehicle, you could face aggravated charges. You may also be charged with DUI child endangerment. It is considered child endangerment to put a minor child in danger of being injured or killed due to a parent or other adult’s willful act or omission or refusal to provide the necessary care.
Like many other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia considers it a form of child endangerment to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher with a child in the car. The risk that a child will be seriously injured or killed in a car accident increases significantly if the driver was drunk. In addition, it is less likely that the child will be wearing his seat belt.
DUI child endangerment is a misdemeanor offense, and you could be charged with is as well as DUI when pulled over for drinking with a child in the car. If convicted of DUI child endangerment, you face these punishments in addition to those for DUI:
- First offense. You will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days and a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
- Second offense. You face the same penalties as for a first offense and will be required to perform 80 hours of community service.
You could be charged with additional crimes if the child was injured or died. You also risk losing your right to custody and visitation if the child in your vehicle was yours
Were you charged with DUI or DUI child endangerment? You could have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you believe you were guilty. Let our experienced DUI lawyers in Norfolk mount a strong defense for you so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. To schedule a free consultation to learn more, call our Norfolk office or fill out the convenient form on this page.
Will it help me to attend traffic school before my reckless driving hearing?
It may help you to avoid the harsh consequences you face if you attend traffic school before your court hearing in your reckless driving case. However, whether this will be beneficial will depend on your driving record and why you were charged with reckless driving.
What Is a Driving Improvement Course?
In a driver improvement class, you are taught defensive driving techniques that can help you avoid causing an accident. These courses are approximately eight hours, and they can be taken in a classroom or online. You must take an exam at the end of the class.
The cost of attending traffic school varies, but is generally less than $100. If you decide to enroll in a class before your reckless driving hearing, it is important to pick one on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s list of approved clinics.
Ways That Attending a Driver Improvement Clinic Can Help You
An experienced traffic ticket lawyer can help you decide whether taking a driver improvement course before your reckless driving hearing is a good idea. Here are ways that it may help you:
- Reduced charges. The charges against you may be reduced or dismissed if you attend traffic school if you have no speeding tickets and this is your first reckless driving charge. In more serious cases, such as if you have a poor driving record, were driving at an excessive speed, or risked injuring someone, taking a driving improvement course can show the judge that you take your actions seriously.
- Reduce your DMV points. Successfully completing a traffic school class will result in a five point reduction in your DMV points. This will improve your DMV record and may help you when you are sentenced in your reckless driving case.
- Lower your insurance rates. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to reduce your auto insurance costs by attending a driver improvement class.
Have you been charged with reckless driving or another traffic offense in Norfolk? Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a member of our reckless driving legal team to learn about what you can expect in your criminal case and how we can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
Can I be charged with reckless driving in Virginia if I live in another state?
Unfortunately, you can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia even if you are an out-of-state resident driving in our commonwealth. Whether you’re here on business, vacation, or commuting to your job—reckless driving is a serious offense in Virginia that is aggressively prosecuted and carries stiff penalties upon conviction. If you live in another state and are charged with this offense, it is crucial to retain an experienced reckless driving attorney in Virginia as soon as possible.
Why You Need to Take Reckless Driving Charges Seriously If You’re an Out-of-State Resident
There are at least 15 separate violations that are considered reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While some involve speeding over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles over the posted speed limit, others are for offenses that are often minor traffic infractions in other states, such as failing to yield the right away or not using a turn signal.
If you have been charged with reckless driving and live in another state, you still need to take these charges seriously. Here are some important reasons why:
- Misdemeanor offense. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense. You will have a permanent criminal record if convicted that can affect your employment prospects, security clearance, ability to obtain a loan, and more.
- Harsh penalties. If convicted, you could be sentenced up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Your driver’s license may also be suspended for up to six months, and six demerit points would be added to your driving record, which could increase your auto insurance costs for many years.
- Required court hearing. Reckless driving is not like a traffic ticket where you can just plead guilty and pay a fine. In Virginia, you must attend a court hearing when charged with this offense. However, if you retain an experienced reckless driving attorney, he may be able to attend the hearing on your behalf.
- Interstate compact. Most states participate in the Interstate Driver License Compact where they share information about traffic offenses and treat traffic violation convictions and punishments the same as if they occurred in their state. Virginia is part of this compact and would forward information about your reckless driving offense to the state where you live.
We Represent Out-of-State Residents Facing Reckless Driving Charges
If you live in another state and have been charged with reckless driving in Norfolk, the experienced reckless driving attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to mount a strong defense to the charges you face so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more about your options, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Do I have to install an ignition interlock device on my vehicle if I am convicted of DUI?
Any person who is convicted of DUI in Virginia is required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle in order to obtain a restricted license. Even if this is your first offense, you will need to have one installed for at least six months. You must obtain it from an installer approved by the court.
You will also be required to enroll in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), which would monitor compliance with the ignition interlock device requirements. During this time period, you would be prohibited from driving any vehicle that is not equipped with this system.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer test, but it is installed on your vehicle. Once installed, you must blow into the device so that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured before starting your engine. If your BAC is over 0.02 percent, the engine will not start.
The device can also require a retest every 20 to 30 minutes while the vehicle is being driven, and this is referred to as a “rolling test.” Its purpose is to ensure that you do not consume alcohol after starting the engine. If you fail the test, an alarm and flashing lights would go off until the engine is shut off.
The device will also contain an electronic log that records breathalyzer test results. You would be required to submit the printout from the electronic to your VASAP case manager.
Who Pays the Costs of an Ignition Interlock Device?
You would be required to pay the cost for installing and maintaining the ignition interlock device. It must be monitored and calibrated on a monthly basis. Currently, the court-approved companies are not charging an installation fee, but this could change. The monthly maintenance fees are between $60 and $80.
If you have been charged with DUI in Norfolk, you need an experienced DUI attorney on your side. To learn about our extensive experience helping clients charged with DUI and how we can assist you, fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.
What types of evidence do I need in my reckless driving case?
When you face reckless driving charges, you need to mount a strong defense to the charges you face. A strong defense can help reduce the chances that you will be convicted of a misdemeanor offense that carries serious penalties that often result in a permanent criminal record. This is done through the presentation of evidence that supports your defenses. To present effective defenses that get you results, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Evidence That Can Help Fight Reckless Driving Charges
A lawyer can help identify the evidence that is needed and collect it. Here are some common types of evidence that may be beneficial:
- Calibration. When your reckless driving charges are based on speeding, a speedometer calibration can help you prove what speed you were going. If you were charged with traveling at close to 80 miles per hour, or 20 miles over the speed limit, GPS data along with a speedometer calibration can raise serious doubts that you were driving recklessly.
- Witness testimony. There are many different grounds for reckless driving charges in Virginia. Depending on the specific charge that you face, the testimony of witnesses—especially neutral bystanders—can help show that you were not driving recklessly.
- Problems with signs. You can only be expected to travel at a speed that is posted. If a sign is missing, damaged, or obscured, photographs of this can help establish that you legitimately did not realize that you were speeding.
- Traffic camera footage. In some cases—such as if you were not the driver or are accused of passing a stopped school bus near an intersection—traffic camera footage can help you prove that you did nothing wrong.
How Your Commitment to Safe Driving Can Help
While not a defense per se, showing your commitment to safe driving through a clean driving record up to the time of your reckless driving charges can be used when asking the judge to be lenient during a plea agreement or sentencing. Even if you have some problems with your driving record, successfully completing a driver improvement class can help.
Let Us Build a Strong Defense to the Charges You Face
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to assist you in building a strong defense to the reckless driving charges that you face. To learn more about effective defenses and the evidence you will need, call our Norfolk office today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Will my reckless driving conviction affect my ability to obtain a green card?
If you are applying for a green card in an attempt to become a U.S. citizen, you may be worried if you are charged with reckless driving. While a reckless driving conviction may not automatically preclude you from obtaining a green card, it can be a problem. That is why it is crucial to retain an experienced reckless driving attorney to help you avoid the harsh penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction and its effect on your application for a green card.
How a Reckless Driving Conviction May Impact Your Green Card Application
Some people are under the mistaken impression that reckless driving is a traffic ticket. However, reckless driving can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia. On the application for a green card, you will be asked if you were "arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations." This means that you would need to disclose a reckless driving conviction on your application whereas you would not be required to do so if you received a traffic ticket, such as for speeding.
Certain criminal convictions would automatically disqualify you for a green card. They are serious crimes that include the following:
- Sexual abuse of a minor
- Drug or gun trafficking
- Child pornography
Fortunately, you are not automatically disqualified from getting a green card if you are convicted of reckless driving. Its effect on your application will depend on the circumstances surrounding the charges you face. If you seriously injured another person, this was a second or subsequent offense, or drugs were involved in your reckless driving, a conviction could be a serious concern. However, when this was your first offense and you otherwise have a clean criminal record, it may not impact as much on your application.
Contact Our Firm for Assistance
Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can help you build a strong defense to the reckless driving charges you face that may result in their dismissal or reduction to a less serious offense, such as a speeding ticket. When you are applying for a green card, this may allow you to complete the application without having to disclose a reckless driving conviction. To learn more about how we can help, call our Fairfax office to schedule your free initial consultation.
What are the safety concerns surrounding Palcohol?
Drinkers who are looking for an easy and convenient way to knock back a few may look into using Palcohol, a powdered alcohol substance that is set to hit the stores in the summer of 2015.
This freeze-dried alcohol, which is available in five different flavors, turns into a mixed drink when water is added. Although this may sound like a dream come true for those who wish to consume alcohol on hiking or camping trips, others are doubtful of its safety.
Palcohol: It is Safe to Use?
The makers of Palcohol praise its convenience and claim it is just as safe as conventional liquid alcohol. Others, however, are more critical of the product and its safety for consumers, and here’s why:
- The potential for overdose is high. Since the alcohol is in powder form, critics worry that consumers will inhale the powder, which can offer an immediate high. Additionally, they fear that youngsters and others will eat the powder itself, which could end up in overdose. In fact, the company claims consumers can sprinkle the powder on their food for an “extra kick.”
- Palcohol is easily accessible. A child may know not to drink alcohol, but what about eating it? A youngster could easily confuse the powder with sugar or another edible substance and ingest the product. Although the company claims ingesting the powder isn’t pleasurable because it turns gummy when mixed with saliva, the child could still feel the effects of the alcohol even if he stops eating it after a few bites.
- Drinking and driving is now easier. Some critics fear that drivers will be able to get away with drinking alcohol when behind the wheel more easily with Palcohol, which could result in more deadly crashes.
Do You Have Questions About Your Rights?
If the driver who hit you and caused injuries was under the influence of Palcohol or other alcohol, you may have a claim. The attorneys of Tavss Fletcher want to help you find out. Contact us today to speak with a legal professional about your situation.
Who doesn’t have to buckle up behind the wheel in Virginia?
After an officer pulled you over for speeding on Rte. 60, he issued you two tickets: one for speeding and the other for your 16-year-old daughter who was riding in the front passenger seat without a belt. Although you know the importance of wearing the safety gear, you didn’t think to check that your daughter was buckled up. Now you’re facing fines.
Who Isn’t Required to Wear a Seat Belt?
This has left you wondering: is every driver required to wear a seatbelt in Virginia? As a driver, are you responsible for your passengers buckling up? Virginia law says that, while you are liable for underage passengers who are not wearing seatbelts, passengers over age 17 are responsible for themselves and could be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt. While it is always safer to be bucked up, the truth is, not every driver is required to wear a seatbelt. Some exceptions to the law are:
- People with medical reasons aren’t obliged to buckle up. Those for whom a licensed physician determines that they are medically incapable of wearing seatbelts are pardoned from doing so.
- Law-enforcement officers. When law enforcement officers are transporting people in custody or are traveling in circumstances in which wearing a safety belt is impractical, they aren’t required to buckle up.
- Certain professional deliverers. Those who are actively delivering mail for the United States Postal Service and those who are performing duties as newspaper route carriers, newspaper bundle haulers, or newspaper rack carriers are exempt from wearing seat belts.
- Other drivers and passengers. Taxi cab drivers and passengers, along with certain personnel of public works, don’t have to wear seatbelts when driving or being transported in such vehicles.
Do You Need Help With an Alleged Driving Infraction?
If you’ve been wrongly accused of driving without wearing a seatbelt or are facing another driving infraction, the legal team of Tavss Fletcher may be able to help. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney about your situation and find out if we can help.
Do I really need to hire a lawyer for my work zone accident? What will one do for me?
The construction work on N. Shore Rd. seems like it has gone on forever, and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. You’ve passed by the work zone hundreds of times to and from your job and never had any problems with it, until today, that is.
Misplaced cones caused you to drive into the guardrail. As a result, your airbags deployed and you suffered injuries. You were taken to Sentara Leigh Hospital where you received treatment for your injuries and underwent lots of expensive testing.
Thinking of Fighting Alone? You May Want to Think Again
The insurance company will attempt to nickel and dime you when it comes to a settlement. Not only will a representative not give you the compensation you deserve now, but you likely won’t get enough to cover problems that happen in the future because of your injuries. When you hire a law firm, however, they will go the extra mile to help you, by:
- Dealing with your medical bills and paperwork so you can focus on recovery, not fighting with an insurance company that doesn’t have your best interests in mind.
- Collect evidence, work with experts, interview witnesses, and speak with investigators to help build your case and present compelling evidence to the judge and jury so that you have a better chance of winning.
- Answer your legal questions and track your deadlines so that you have one less thing on your mind and feel confident in your case.
Don’t Trust the Insurance Company to Give You What You Deserve
The insurance company doesn’t have your best interests in mind, but the legal team of Tavss Fletcher does. Contact us today to learn what we can do so that you can get over your injury and on with your life again.
Is there a link between Daylight Savings Time and road rage?
The saying “fall back, spring forward,” was created as a way for folks to remember the rules of Daylight Savings Time: in the fall, we turn out timepieces back an hour, and in the spring, we change the clocks forward by an hour. However, most people would agree they don’t necessarily feel very “springy” after losing an hour of sleep.
Studies conducted over the years have revealed that Daylight Savings Time affects people in a variety of different ways. Folks tend to have more heart attacks during the first three days after the spring time change, and an increase of car accidents typically occurs.
Does Daylight Savings Time Cause Road Rage?
Daylight Savings Time can also alter motorists’ personalities. People respond to lack of sleep in different ways, and sometimes, it brings out the worst in them:
- Irritability. You were traveling along SR 168 when a driver cut you off. You’re already feeling tired because of the time change, and this person almost caused you to get into an accident. Because you lost an hour’s worth of sleep last night, you’re on edge and this motorist is about to take you all the way over it. Daylight Savings Time triggers this type of reaction in many drivers, and when their tempers take the best of them, the result is road-rage-fueled accidents.
- Loss of focus. No one is perfect and on this day you proved it. You accidentally ran through a stop sign and almost caused a serious accident. The time change has left you drowsy and groggy, which is likely why you missed seeing the sign. The driver you almost struck was livid, and decided to follow you for a few miles while honking his horn. Both the cause and the effect of this situation were likely the result of the time change.
We Can Help
If you were injured in an accident in the Virginia Beach area caused by an irresponsible or angry driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation that can cover your vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and time away from work. The legal team of Tavss Fletcher wants to help. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.
Can I get out of being charged with driving on a suspended license?
You just enjoyed a wonderful trip with your family to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. On your way home, as you were traveling on 460, a police officer pulled you over for speeding. Upon running your license and registration, he informed you that you shouldn’t have been driving to begin with: your license was suspended.
An acquaintance of yours experienced the same sort of situation and ended up paying large fines and spending time in jail. Will this happen to you?
Defenses for Driving on a Suspended License
Before you lose hope, know that some defenses for driving on a suspended license exist, and they include:
- You didn’t receive a notice of suspension. If you didn’t receive a notice in the mail that your license was suspended, you may not have known that it was. If you moved without informing the Department of Motor Vehicles or the notice was simply lost in the mail, a judge may not convict you because you simply had no way of knowing about the license suspension.
- You were stopped without probable cause. A police officer can’t pull you over simply because he wants to; he has to have probable cause to do so. You have to perform an action that is unlawful, such as driving through a traffic light or displaying signs of intoxication. If you can prove that the officer didn’t have probable cause to pull you over, the court should not allow evidence related to the suspended status of your license to be admitted into evidence for the state.
Tavss Fletcher Can Help
Attempting to represent yourself in such a matter will likely end in harsh penalties. Instead of taking on the extra stress and pressure, allow an experienced legal professional to do the job for you.
Tavss Fletcher has helped many drivers in the Norfolk area with their legal matters and may be able to do the same for you.
I see a lot of drivers use the shoulder as a passing lane. Isn’t this dangerous?
About once a week, when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, you see at least one person bypass the congestion by driving on the shoulder. This infuriates you because not only is it illegal, but that kind of reckless driving could make traffic worse if it causes an accident. Then again, there are days that you wish you could do the exact same thing, but you’re worried about the dangers.
The AAA Foundation estimates that 12% of all interstate highway deaths result from shoulder accidents. In other words, 600 people a year are needlessly killed and thousands more are injured due to the misuse of highway shoulders. Some of these victims obeyed emergency laws and used the shoulder for safety. Instead of continuing to drive during an emergency situation, they pulled off the highway, thinking they’d be safer on the shoulder. Unfortunately, poor decisions by other drivers turned their lawful actions into horrific accidents.
Shoulder Passing Stupidity
If shoulders are supposed to be a safe place to pull off for emergencies, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, why are so many people dying? The answer to this question is actually sadder than you may think. Over 90% of these deaths occur because other motorists, for whatever reason, use the shoulder as their own personal passing lanes.
When stuck in traffic, or behind a slow-moving vehicle, some motorists decide that their time is more precious than the drivers around them. Instead of obeying traffic laws, they use the empty shoulder as an easy way to pass slow traffic. However, when traveling at speeds close to 60 mph, the shoulder can quickly become hazardous.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it would be a good idea to drive on the shoulder, remember these potential shoulder risks:
- Emergency pullovers blocking the lane. Due to the speed at which you’re traveling, it can be difficult to see stopped cars, let alone the drivers who are bent over changing tires, calling a tow truck, or comforting their children. If you can’t see them, you can’t avoid causing a disastrous collision.
- Pedestrian accidents. Since the shoulder is used for emergency situations, there is the potential that pedestrians are standing near their cars to wait for assistance.
- Driver confusion. Drivers don’t expect to see cars driving on the shoulder; this confusion can lead some drivers to swerve toward you or to completely ignore your presence when you’re attempting to reenter traffic.
- Road rage. Never underestimate the danger of anger and frustration. By using the shoulder to pass traffic, you’re basically telling the drivers you pass that you’re more important than them. This is a bad idea when they’re already stressed and tense from sitting in a back-up. Some drivers may even take that rage and focus it on you by moving in front of you, blocking you, or running you off the road altogether.
- Re-entering collisions. If you successfully manage to pass traffic without road rage incidents or encountering shoulder hazards, you still must be able to re-enter traffic. If you’re not careful, the few seconds it will take to match highway speed could be your last.
Staying Safe Before and After a Shoulder Collision
You’re a smart person who knows that you should always obey traffic laws. However, other motorists aren’t so inclined to put caution and security above their egos. Unfortunately, their ignorance can put you and your family in jeopardy.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a shoulder accident, contact us today. We can help ensure that you get the compensation your injuries deserve. Don’t let your insurance company make you pay for someone else’s mistake. Call now!
Do you want to protect your friends and family from a highway shoulder accident? You can use your social media connections to make sure they have the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe and make good decisions. Simply click the Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus icons to keep your loved ones safe and our roads clear.
How can I tell if I’m too drunk to drive and need a designated driver?
Your 21st birthday was an absolute riot. Your buddies met you on Granby and took you on an epic pub crawl. First you stopped at the Vineyards Norfolk where your pals bought you a few shots, then you had a few pints at Mo and O’Malley’s, and finally wound up at the Norfolk Tap Room. The Tap Room, however, is where the evening took its downturn.
Around 1:45 a.m., right before last call, your best friend informed you that he had to take your keys away from you, and that he would be driving you home. You looked at him with a mix of confusion and defiance when you told him you’d be driving yourself. He tried to laugh off your remark, and told you that he promised your mom that he’d be the designated driver.
As soon as he mentioned your mom, you flew off the handle, and shouted to him (and the entire bar), that you were an adult, and could make your own “deslesions.” Besides, you’re the best judge of whether or not you’re too drunk to drive, right?
Signs That You Need a DD
No matter how much you may think you are sober enough to drive, if someone suggests that you should call a cab or have a DD (designated driver), take his word for it. It’s hard to notice signs that you’re becoming too impaired to drive, especially when you’ve been drinking. Therefore, when someone else notices that you shouldn’t be behind a wheel, let his opinion decide for you.
If you’re otherwise not sure if you should be driving, but are experiencing the following symptoms, it’s best for everyone for you to call a DD:
- Slurring speech
- Walking erratically
- Falling down
- Running into stationary objects or people
- Blurred vision
- Numbness in arms, legs and fingers
All of the above symptoms can be dangerous when your traveling on your own to feet, let alone in a metal box moving at 70 mph.
Don’t allow a stupid decision to ruin the rest of your life and the lives of others. Don’t drink and drive…period! This is why it is always a good idea to have a designated driver or cab fare whenever you go out drinking. Time is the only thing that can reverse the effects of alcohol. Don’t get behind the wheel unless you’ve given your body enough time to flush out the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed—it’s safer for everyone and smarter for you.
Already been injured by a drunk driver and need advice about your car accident claim? Contact us today for a consultation and more information about how our experience can help you and your family.
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Why do people say roundabouts are safer than regular intersections? I think they’re scary and confusing.
The day you’ve been dreading for nearly 17 years has finally arrived: your daughter just received her driver’s license and wants to take the car out on her own.
You know that she is completely capable and you’ve taken her to practice on every street within a 10 mile radius, including 190, Kempsville and Great Bridge. You know she‘s familiar with the roads, but you’re still not quite sure about letting her go by herself. Finally you concede and give her the keys. You begrudgingly wave her goodbye as she pulls out of the driveway and with much trepidation, you go back into the house to anxiously await her return.
After about ten minutes, your phone rings. You almost drop it when you see it’s her, fearing the worst. “Honey...what’s wrong?”
“Hi, Daddy. I think I may be lost. I’m on Old Oak Grove but I need to be on Green Tree. Should I just go straight to the roundabout, or turn on Green Tree Circle?”
You pause a moment to think before replying. Which way is safer? Should you tell her to take the roundabout or take her a little out of her way to take the normal intersection?
The Safety Features of Roundabouts Compared to Conventional Intersections
Although regular intersections may appear to be more straightforward, with clear-cut rules, a lot of intersection accidents occur as a result of head-on collisions and abrupt stops from stop-and-go traffic. Roundabouts are designed to address these issues by:
- Limiting stop-and-go traffic
- Eliminating fear of other motorists running a light
- Decreasing turning guidelines such as “No turn on red” or confusion over which vehicle has priority in making a turn
- Increasing traffic awareness, since you must pay attention to the entire circle in order to merge into it
- Preventing crossover traffic (motorists turning in front of you)
- Eliminating head-on collisions by moving all traffic in the same direction
As long as you’re comfortable with roundabout procedures and are aware of the proper use of the lanes, roundabouts are much more efficient and less dangerous than normal intersections. However, although inherently safer, if you’re not familiar with roundabouts, or guide signs aren’t clearly marked, navigating a roundabout could not only be difficult, but could cost you a police citation. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and avoid common errors to prevent a ticket.
Have questions about roundabout safety, or believe that you received a roundabout citation in error? Contact us today to learn more about reckless driving laws, safe driving techniques, and your rights as a motorist. We’re here to help you, so don’t hesitate to fill out the contact information on this page.
What are the penalties for a hit-and-run accident in Virginia?
Being involved in an auto accident of any kind is a scary and stressful event. Unfortunately, traffic accidents are a part of driving on the roads today. You’re aware of this already, because it’s not uncommon to see damaged vehicles and an emergency crew on the side of the road as you drive along I-64 or travel from Suffolk to Virginia Beach. Making matters worse is the fact that many of these accidents often end in serious injury.
Being accused of a hit-and-run crash will add to this already stressful situation of dealing with an auto accident and the injuries that follow. Some hit-and-run drivers don’t care about the accident and the injured parties involved. Other hit-and-run drivers are either wrongfully accused or had a good reason for leaving the scene.
Being charged with a hit-and-run is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Those who are charged with a hit-and-run face the following legal penalties:
- Class 4 misdemeanor. You will be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor if the vehicle or property damage is less than $250 and the vehicle was unattended. This will also apply if the passenger does not report an accident. A Class 4 misdemeanor is punishable by only a fine.
- Class 1 misdemeanor. If the hit-and-run accident had less than $1,000 of property damage and the vehicle was occupied, or if the vehicle was unoccupied and damage was between $250 and $1,000 than the driver can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail.
- Class 5 felony. If the vehicle was occupied and an injury, death, or more than $1,000 in damages resulted, then a Class 5 felony may be charged. This is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
As you can see, the consequences of a hit-and-run accident can be severe. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run it is important to seek legal guidance. Fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about how we can help your situation.
- Class 4 misdemeanor. You will be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor if the vehicle or property damage is less than $250 and the vehicle was unattended. This will also apply if the passenger does not report an accident. A Class 4 misdemeanor is punishable by only a fine.
What are some of the consequences I can expect after being accused of a DUI traffic accident?
You leave a party or get-together—as you have on many other occasions—only to find yourself slammed into the back of another vehicle. Or perhaps you wake up and head to work after a long night and before you know it you are in an accident while crossing through an intersection.
Next thing you know you are behind bars being accused of a drunken-driving or drugged driving accident.
These scenarios are common and can leave the driver being accused of driving under the influence (DUI) facing serious consequences. Because these consequences will be so severe, it is important to have an experienced DUI attorney on his side.
Some of the consequences an individual may face after being accused of a DUI accident in Virginia are:
- Prison time. A person who was involved in an accident and being accused of a DUI can spend time behind bars. The time behind bars depends on how serious the accident was and if they have had any other DUI offenses.
- Financial loss. The driver can expect a lawsuit from any person who has been injured in the accident. There will also be fines and penalties imposed by any court rulings.
- Loss of license. Depending on the severity of the accident and prior offenses, the driver can expect some sort of suspension of his license. This can be anywhere from one year to indefinitely.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a DUI accusation, it is important to contact us today. To learn how we can help your case simply fill out the contact form found on this page.