AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public & Governmental Affairs Martha Mitchell Meade has taken the offensive and blasted the ridiculous speed traps that exist in many localities and called for an end to this "policing-for-profit." Ms. Meade wrote an editorial to the Richmond Times-Dispatch which was published in the February 24, 2015 edition. AAA also sent out an email blast to its members with a link to the Virginia General Assembly members. This generated 12,000 emails in about 5 hours last Thursday.
Once again, Hopewell, Virginia was cited for its "Million Dollar Mile:"
Hopewell is the obvious and the closest example where 11 sheriff’s deputies operate a targeted speed enforcement program on 1.7 miles of Interstate 295, handing out speeding tickets like lollipops in a doctor’s office, primarily to out-of-state drivers, since they are most likely to pay up rather than contest tickets. The exercise provides nearly $2 million annually to Hopewell’s coffers.
AAA is asking that the General Assembly pass legislation which would limit the amount of revenue such localities would keep from such programs. AAA feels that passing such legislation would discourage these localities from continuing this practice.
As a lawyer who dedicates a great part of his practice to defending those motorists charged with Reckless Driving Speeding and attempting to resolve the case so that they will not suffer the additionally harsh collateral consequences such as having a permanent criminal record, losing their driver's license and having their insurance rates go through the roof, I could not agree more with Ms. Meade's additional comments:
Motorists should not be targeted as easy-money cash cows, but rather enforcement should be used where it is most needed for safety. Policing for revenue, practiced by a few, creates a credibility issue for all law enforcement, even though most work hard to serve and protect the public.
I can also state that such enforcement leaves a very negative impression from those charged about the entire state of Virginia. I routinely hear comments like "I'll never go to Virginia Beach again. I'll take all my future vacations in Nags Head." One irate motorist said he would never spend another dime in Virginia and would push his car to the North Carolina border if he ran out of gas in Virginia!
As a law firm that is defending those charged with Reckless Speeding on a daily basis in courts within an hour or so of Richmond, I can state that Hopewell is not the worst speed trap anymore, routinely charging the non-misdemeanor traffic infraction of "Speeding" for those speeds in the low 80's. The title of worst speed trap is definitely Greensville and Emporia, Virginia, located immediately north of the North Carolina border on Interstate 95. The Greensville County court typically has 10 times more reckless driving speeding charges than any other locality.