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Your Next Speeding Tickets Could Be Automated Under Northam's Transportation Plan

Highway sign over the Dulles Toll Road showing exits for Baltimore and Tysons Corner.
Dulles Toll Road in Mclean, Virginia (Famartin/Creative Commons)

Virginia drivers could get their next speeding ticket without ever interacting with a police officer under a new transportation proposal put forward by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Northam’s sweeping transportation package includes a provision for a “speed monitoring program” that would ticket drivers in select “highway safety corridors.”

Drivers caught on photographs going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit would be hit with a mandatory fine. Funding collected will go towards safety improvements on the corridors, according to Alena Yarmosky, Northam’s spokesperson. She said the administration had not conducted a revenue estimate on the new ticketing scheme.

“This is about promoting safety on a select few of our most dangerous stretches of highway, not making money,” Yarmosky said.

There are currently three highway safety corridors in the state: I-95 as it passes through Richmond, I-95 in Prince William County, and I-81 south of Roanoke.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board would re-examine that list if the bill passes, according to Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. She cited a recent state study of the narrow, two-lane I-81 as a reason for the new program.

“Citizens were very concerned about the speed of cars and trucks along that roadway,” Valentine said.

House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) described the proposal as an unnecessary tax on drivers.

“I don’t know that it really makes anybody safer, at least considering the privacy concerns of having a surveillance state effectively set up where the government monitors you by camera and then sends you a bill for your troubles,” Gilbert said.

Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring the state to study the use of handheld photo speed monitoring devices in highway safety zones and “any legal or constitutional implications” of sending funds anywhere aside from the state Literacy Fund.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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