Reckless Driving Charge No Longer Only Option for Stafford Deputies
– August 16, 2013 8:22 am
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Sheriff’s deputies have a new tool when it comes to citing bad drivers.
Stafford County officials voted to change the county code and allow deputies to charge drivers with improper driving, a charge that previously wasn’t an option for deputies to place. Until now, deputies had to charge drivers with reckless driving and judges later had the option of reducing the offence down to improper driving.
The charge is normally handed out for those who are involved in minor crashes due to driver inattention.
“Most people are surprised when they learn a deputy’s only choice is to let them go, or write them a ticket for reckless driving,” said Stafford County Commonwealth Attorney Eric Olsen.
Improper driving amounts to a Class 3 Misdemeanor which can be cited for things like smoking a cigarette at a gas pump, having too much window tint on a car, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, and letting someone borrow a handicap parking placard, said Olsen.
One person who spoke out against the change, Stafford resident Paul Waldowski, of 8 Pickett Lane, disagreed with the change and urged the Stafford County Board of Supervisors to amend the county code.
“I would agree with the Commonwealth Attorney if it was the 20th Century, but it’s not, and if you are texting or distracted while driving, you need to go through due process… all it takes is one accident, in once place, and one time… and there’s not enough law enforcement to catch everyone who needs to be caught,” argued Waldowski.
The Stafford Board passed the measure in a unanimous vote.
The move comes after Virginia’s General Assembly this year passed a bill from Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson that makes texting while driving a first offense, meaning law enforcement officers can pull drivers over if they see the driver sending a text message.
Prior to the new law, law enforcement had to spot a more serious infraction of the law to stop a driver and then could cite texting while driving as an additional offense.
*This story has been corrected