Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest traffic periods of the year in Virginia and nationwide. While most people will abide by the rules of the road, this will not stop police from being on high alert for those they believe are committing traffic offenses, particularly reckless driving. And, reckless driving can encompass actions that motorists may not initially consider to be very serious.

Under §46.2-852 of the Code of Virginia, regardless of the posted speed limit, motorists on highways in the Commonwealth who operate their vehicles in a way that puts the life, limb or property of another in danger can be charged with reckless driving. When people think of reckless driving, they may think of very dangerous behaviors, such as crossing over the double yellow line to pass multiple vehicles, driving extremely aggressively or even driving while intoxicated. However, people may be surprised to hear that driving even as much as 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit could be considered reckless driving.

Per §46.2-862 of the Code of Virginia, if a motorist on the highway drives at or above 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or over 80 miles per hour no matter what the speed limit is, that motorist may be charged with reckless driving. At first glance, this might not seem to be an issue for most motorists, as they may recognize that driving between 20 miles over the speed limit or 80 miles per hour in general is excessive and dangerous. However, keep in mind that the speed limit on many highways in Virginia is 70 miles per hour. Thus, if a person on these highways drives merely 11 hours over the speed limit, they will have broken the 80 miles per hour rule and could be charged with reckless driving.

Driving 11 miles per hour over the speed limit may not seem like a big deal, but in Virginia, it is. Being charged with reckless driving can have serious consequences that could have a long-term effect on a person’s life. Thus, motorists charged with reckless driving will want to take the steps necessary to protect their interests, including seeking legal advice if appropriate.