One of the quickest ways to push affordable Richmond auto insurance rates into costly territory is by speeding, and over the long Memorial Day weekend, that's just what potentially thousands of motorists may have done by failing to obey the law.
Nearly 10,500 drivers in Virginia were ticketed for speeding during the four-day holiday weekend, Virginia State Police reported. This doesn't include the more than 2,400 who were ticketed for reckless motor vehicle operation and 828 who were penalized for failing to wear their seat belts. Virginia is a primary seat belt law state, meaning that traffic enforcement representatives can pull over drivers as well as passengers simply for going unrestrained.
The traffic enforcement effort is part of the Virginia State Police's Combined Action Reduction Effort, or CARE. The campaign is state-sponsored and usually goes into effect during holiday periods, when traffic volume typically intensifies. Officials believe that CARE has helped save lives by holding drivers accountable for their poor decisions behind the wheel.
Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent, noted that thanks to these enforcement efforts and drivers observing the laws of the road, deadly accidents have diminished substantially in the Commonwealth.
"The number of traffic deaths on Virginia's roadways continues to decrease, down 50 percent since 2015," Flaherty said in a press release. "However, even one fatality is too many, especially when taking basic safety precautions can save a life."
More than 9,200 speeding-related fatal accidents per year
Going the speed limit is a simple precaution to take, but unfortunately, many Americans fail to do it on a regular basis, increasing their risk for accident involvement and potentially raising their liability auto insurance rates. According to the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 9,200 motorists per year in the U.S. are killed in auto accidents caused by speeding. The reasons why exceeding the posted speed limit is so dangerous are pretty cut and dried, the main one being a greater potential for an accident due to reduced control.
Speeding is particularly common among drunk drivers. In an estimated 40% of deadly accidents where speeding is a contributing factor, drivers are operating under the influence of alcohol, based on 2014 crash data maintained by the NHTSA. In Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend, 110 drunk drivers were cited and arrested by highway patrol officers, Virginia State Police indicated.
Demerits can add up quickly
"Driving 20 mph over the legal limit may result in a felony."
Both drunk driving and speeding are taken quite seriously in Virginia. In addition to costly fines and potential auto insurance rate increases, violators risk license suspension if they accrue too many "points" or demerits. Some violations carry more weight than others and remain on motorists' records for several years. For example, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, driving under the influence of alcohol is a six-point violation, and the infraction isn't expunged for 11 years. Similarly, driving 20 mph over the posted limit is a six-point penalty and stays on records for the same number of years. What's more, motorists who are convicted of this type of reckless driving may be charged with a felony.
If this weren't enough, insurance rates are frequently adversely affected, partly because the DMV is obligated to notify insurers about these type of moving violations. Though premium increases vary – often depending on the severity of the infraction – even minor speeding tickets can raise premiums in Virginia by more than 16%, according to a recent study conducted by Quadrant Information Services on behalf of InsuranceQuotes. And that's for one ticket. Two speeding tickets in a given year in Virginia may raise premiums by 27%.
At Elephant Auto Insurance, we pride ourselves in offering cheap full coverage auto insurance to policyholders who have a proven track record of driving safely. But reckless driving in Virginia can't be tolerated, and those who engage in it may rob themselves of the opportunity to save money. The next time you're running late to work or an appointment, resist the urge to speed. Your wallet will thank you.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy.