Say goodbye to paper speeding tickets? Maybe.

In an effort to increase safety and save time for both parties, the Virginia State Police hope to switch from paper traffic tickets to a digital, computer-based system that would allow for quick scans of driver’s licenses and registrations. Testing has shown that this system would speed up traffic stops significantly, from around 26 minutes to a much more palatable 10 minutes.  

In order to pay for this new system, however, the state of Virginia has suggested charging drivers a $5 fee for each stop. Legislation allowing the state to charge drivers for each stop passed in the House of Delegates and was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. In that chamber, the bill was met with mixed reviews.

State Senator Richard Stuart (R) expressed his reservations about the bill, mostly concerning the added cost to drivers. “You look at all of the assessments on somebody who gets a speeding ticket, and we’re constantly adding more assessments to them,” Stuart said. 

His colleague on the other side of the aisle, Democrat Scott Surovell, did not share those concerns.

“It’ll generate probably more fine revenue for us. It will probably keep officers more safe,” Surovell said.  

traffic stop, police
Photo courtesy of WHYY.com
 

In the end, the Judiciary Committee passed the choice to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, in an effort to not force drivers to pay for this new system.  

A similar program has been successfully tried in Florida. Police officers in Miami-Dade County have seen an increase in safety as a result of faster traffic stops, and the local courts have seen the benefits of digitized tickets. Paper citations have a habit of being lost or illegible, and the computer-based system has eliminated both of those problems. It has also allowed the Florida courts to devote more time to serious infractions.