Drivers beware: High fines ahead

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Changes to Virginias laws on July 1 include several hefty new penalties for aggressive driving.

While the state already has some of the toughest laws on the books regionally, drivers could rack up fines into the thousands of dollars for driving under the influence or for reckless speeding.

A DUI would bring a $2,250 fine three $750 installments paid out over three consecutive years, with the first payment due up front upon conviction.

A felony driving offense would total $3,000 over three years. Drivers with eight or more points on their records will be fined $100, plus $75 for any point added above and beyond that after July 1.

Part of the bill also enacts a new driver fee of $100 for drivers who have never held a Virginia license. The fee also applies to residents whose licenses were previously revoked or suspended.

Teenage drivers who take a driver safety course will be exempt from the fee.

The transportation bill, HB3202, was passed by the General Assembly earlier this year after much debate and heavy revision. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) toured the draft version around the state, seeking input from localities to tweak the bill.

The bill could generate up to $300 million annually for transportation projects in Northern Virginia. Funds will be generated by a combination of taxes and fees, to be levied by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority the first real power the group will  wield since its inception in 2002.

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