Driving 20 mph faster than the posted speed limit is a form of reckless driving (Va. Code § 46.2-862), so naturally, you want to avoid it so that you do not incur a criminal traffic offense. However, some motorists drive fast in response to an emotional state or a provocation. If you understand some common reasons drivers speed, you might keep yourself from causing a serious accident or facing a criminal charge. A conviction brings a permanent criminal record, a fine of up to $2500, and the possibility of up to 12 months in jail and a 6-month license suspension.
Many drivers want to obey traffic laws, so flagrant disobedience to the law is usually not the motivation for motorists to exceed the speed limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has studied why law abiding drivers might feel the need to go faster on the road.
Pressed for time
Like many drivers, you probably feel pressured by time when you are driving to get to work, pick up your kids from school, or run an errand. If you have a job that requires you to commute, arriving on time to work may feel even more crucial. Feeling too pressured by the clock could lead to aggressive driving, including speeding, to make it to a destination in time. You might try to avoid time pressures by starting on your route 15 minutes earlier or planning alternate routes to your destination in case of traffic. A number of free cell phone navigation apps, like Google Maps or Waze, will automatically suggest a quicker route to get around a traffic backup. They can also be programed to loudly alert you if your speed exceeds, for example, 10 MPH over the limit.
Congested traffic may slow down your progress. You might feel the urge to make up time by stepping on the gas pedal. However, resisting the temptation to speed through slow traffic may help keep you from progressing into other aggressive driving behaviors: weaving in and out of lanes, honking your horn, or cutting off other drivers who are not moving fast enough to your liking. These actions could cause another motorist to respond aggressively to your actions and possibly lead to a collision. Regardless of your speed, the police could charge you with criminal “aggressive driving”. This charge carries up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine.
Isolation from the world
Driving inside of a vehicle can create feelings of isolation. You might not see the faces of nearby drivers, which can make the outside world feel like it is part of a television show. If you spend hours driving to a destination, the long hours can increase these feelings of detachment. Some people start to feel that their actions will not have tangible consequences on the outside world. Such feelings may lead to uninhibited driving behavior like speeding, which may progress to other reckless forms of driving.
Both reckless driving and aggressive driving are criminal offenses with severe consequences. You should consult an experienced traffic attorney as soon as possible. These charges can lead to catastrophic consequences to your job, your driver’s license, your pocketbook, and even your freedom.