Delegate David Albo has sponsored a bill that would punish "dangerous drivers," while generating $600 million from added traffic ticket fines. The measure would also create a lot of new business for law firms that deal with traffic offenses. Delegate Albo is a partner in such a firm. Not surprisingly, he does not mention his vested interest when speaking about this legislation.
His legislation, House Bill 527, would assess motorists new ticket surcharges. If it becomes law, any person with four or more points on his or her license will be fined $100, plus $75 for each additional point over four. Additionally, any motorist convicted of reckless driving within the last three years would be required to pay $350 or $750 if they were convicted of DUI.
The measure's stated purpose is to "generate revenue from drivers whose proven dangerous driving behavior places significant financial burdens upon the Commonwealth." In reality, the bill would penalize responsible motorists with as few as just one ticket.
If this bill passes, Virginians will be far more likely to contest their traffic citations, including DUI charges. A move that would directly benefit Albo's law firm, Albo & Oblon, which specializes in defending motorists accused of reckless driving and DUI -- the same two violations that would carry even heftier fines.
"Until very recently, Albo & Oblon advertised on our web site,"" said Eric Skrum, Communications Director for the National Motorists Association. "We sent them a notice telling them they were no longer welcome after we learned of this legislation." Skrum added, "It's surprising that no one has questioned the ethics of a legislator who proposes bills that directly benefits him and his partners."
Albo's bill has already passed the House of Delegates. However, the Virginia State Senate has yet to act on the legislation.