In March of last year, travel and commuting came to a screeching halt across the United States due to the Covid pandemic. Many insurers, including Northern Neck Insurance, voluntarily returned car insurance premium due to a reduction in miles driven as Virginians quarantined. With significantly fewer cars on the roads, you would think that would translate into fewer speeding violations in Virginia. That's not what happened.
Speeding in Virginia
When Insurify nationally ranked speeding tickets, Virginia landed in second place for the highest number of speeding tickets in 2021. Only second to Ohio, Virginia packs a whopping 15.76% of drivers on record for speeding infractions this year and a 34% higher rate of getting caught speeding than any other state. The commonwealth also has the 4th highest national rate for failure to stop violations. But that's just the tip of it- check out this iceberg!
Reckless Driving in Virginia
Even with a higher population density than other states with increased reckless driving rates, Old Dominion drivers were also 73% more likely to engage in illegal reckless driving behavior than any state in America during the covid lockdown. Virginia surpassed every other state with 66 reckless driving violations for every 10 K residents.
Does Virginia have higher rates of enforcement than other states?
Perhaps. Virginia passed several new driving laws last year, but reckless driving in Virginia has always been a general rule. When it comes to speeding, a driver who exceeds the speed limit by more than 20 mph is reckless driving in Virginia. But someone who drives a vehicle in a way that endangers someone else's life or property can be charged with reckless driving.
For example, if an officer cites you for violating Virginia's new hands-free law, you could be charged with reckless driving as well if your actions endangered someone else's life.
Here are some other aggressive driving offenses that could lead to a reckless driving charge in Virginia:
- Speeding in excess of 85 mph
- Illegal passing
- Failing to yield right of way
- Drag racing or spinning your wheels
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions
- Driving an overloaded car or truck
- Causing a crash
- Passing a school bus
- Driving with an obstructed view
Your State Driving Record
In Virginia, most traffic violations carry demerit points. Traffic convictions stay on your record depending on the severity. Speeding 10 mph or more above the posted speed limit and other reckless driving charges result in four to five points on your license and can stay on your record for anywhere from three to five years. More severe reckless driving violations, considered felonies or misdemeanors, can result in six demerit points and stay for eleven years. Demerit points are also assigned for traffic convictions that occur in other states.
How do speeding and reckless driving violations affect your car insurance rates?
All moving violations can impact insurance rates and eligibility. The Virginia DMV posts convictions to your driving record and assigns demerit points based on the severity of the offense. They also notify your insurance carrier. Insurers often consider minor traffic violation history for three years and major violations for five years or more.
The bottom line is the more points you have on your Virginia driving record, the higher risk you pose for future claims. The higher the risk, the more car insurance will cost you, and determine if a carrier is willing to assume the risk to insure you. When shopping for insurance, three to five years of your DVM driving record will most likely impact your insurance rate. You also may not be considered for a policy at all if you have significant infractions.
Good Driving Discounts
On the flip side, more shopping options and competitive pricing are the reward for a good driving record. Virginia's DMV rewards good drivers with "safe points"; one for every year you hold a state license with no driving violations or suspensions. You can accumulate up to five safe points, which can indicate less risk to insurers.
Insurance premiums can run high for other reasons. Lack of driving experience and age can play a role in assessing risk. Young and inexperienced drivers are more often responsible for insurance claims, so adding a new teen driver is always bound to provide some sticker shock. If your son or daughter just got their license and has great grades, check to see if your insurance carrier has a good student discount program. If you are over 55, you can take a driver improvement course to attain a senior driving discount.
The insurance benefits to a good driving record are pretty clear, not to mention the safety implications for Virginians. If you've got a few dings, doing what you can to avoid new ones and letting time erase the old is a win-win!