NMA Calls for Special Session to Repeal Virginia Ticket Tax

July 2007

The National Motorists Association (NMA) today called on Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and the Virginia General Assembly to hold a special session for the full and unconditional repeal of the Albo Traffic Ticket Tax. This tax, labeled a “civil remedial fee” in House Bill 3202, took effect July 1. Hundreds of thousands of Virginians have expressed outrage at the unfair and excessive tax.

“Transforming the commonwealth’s policemen into highwaymen is no way to run a government,” said NMA President Jim Baxter. “When government funding depends on speeding tickets it means one thing: quotas. Virginians want the Albo Tax abolished, not just expanded to extort more revenue from out-of-state drivers. It’s time for Governor Kaine and Speaker Howell to listen to Virginia’s 5.1 million licensed drivers.”

The main proponent of the fees, Delegate Dave Albo, is the lead partner of Albo & Oblon, LLP, a firm that specializes defending traffic cases subject to these new surcharges.

“Turning mere speeding into an offense that can cost as much as a mortgage payment can seriously harm families and will only increase the number of unlicensed and uninsured motorists,” Baxter said. “It’s discouraging that the lead proponent of the legislation now stands to personally benefit from this law.”

In defending the Albo Traffic Ticket Tax, Speaker William J. Howell claimed, “There is no such thing as a $3,000 speeding ticket.” Virginia law says otherwise. Excerpts from the Virginia Code below show how driving at more than 15 MPH over the limit in a 65 MPH zone is **automatically** labeled “reckless driving” and carries a court-imposed fine that can be as high as $2,500 plus the Albo Fee of $1,050 that the court cannot reduce.

The exact same conduct that is automatically “reckless” in Virginia is legal in the State of Texas, where the maximum speed limit is 80 MPH. Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming all have maximum speed limits that are 10 MPH greater than Virginia’s. Virginia deliberately underposts speed limits to collect millions in additional funds from motorists who are driving safely on interstate highways.

Virginia Code Excerpts:

46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.

46.2-868. Reckless driving; penalties.
A. Every person convicted of reckless driving under the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

18.2-11. Punishment for conviction of misdemeanor.
The authorized punishments for conviction of a misdemeanor are:

(a) For Class 1 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

46.2-206.1. Imposition of certain additional fees on certain drivers.
C. The court shall assess a person with the following fees upon each conviction of the following offenses:

2. Reckless driving in violation of Article 7 (46.2-852 et seq.) of Chapter 8 or aggressive driving in violation of 46.2-868.1 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $350 each;

“Enough with the excuses and distortions,” said Baxter. “We know how to add. Call it what you will, but Virginia now charges $3,550 for a routine speeding ticket.”