Zero deaths: New laws on books driving Virginia toward highway safety goal

interstate road

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Several bills passed by the General Assembly this year that took effect this week are aiming at protecting vulnerable road users and increase penalties for reckless driving.

“Virginia is an active supporter of the national Toward Zero Deaths movement. Making strides with laws like these will bring us closer to our goal of one day reaching zero deaths on Virginia roadways,” said Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Everyone can do their part by staying focused and alert while driving, always buckling up, watching out for vulnerable road users, following speed limits, and never driving after drinking alcohol.”

Protection of Bicyclists and Other Vulnerable Road Users

Senate Bill 437 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate a vehicle in a careless or distracted manner if serious bodily injury is caused to a vulnerable road user. A vulnerable road user includes pedestrians, bicyclists, those using a wheelchair, those on skateboards or roller skates, those riding an animal or using an animal-drawn vehicle, and those using electric scooters.

Pedestrian Yielding Law

House Bill 1705 requires drivers yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing a highway by stopping and remaining stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped. When a vehicle is yielding to the pedestrian, vehicles approaching from an adjacent lane or from behind the vehicle cannot pass the stopped vehicle.

Reckless Driving Punishment

House Bill 885/Senate Bill 63 increases the fine for those driving between 81 and 85 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone. If convicted, the fine is an additional $100.


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