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DMV Announces New Virginia Laws Effective July 1, 2007 - July 18

DMV News Releases

Monday, July 2, 2007
Media Contact: Tia Freeman
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6701

DMV Announces New Virginia Laws Effective July 1, 2007

Fee for Failure to Keep Scheduled CDL Test Appointment
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will charge a $50 fee to applicants who fail to show up after scheduling a commercial driver's license (CDL) skills test. The new law is aimed at reducing the number of testing applicants who make appointments with commercial driver's license examiners, then miss that appointment without notice. A recent review of commercial driver's license appointments indicates a "no show" rate of 36 percent.

DMV encourages applicants to advise test examiners in advance if they are unable to keep an appointment. If applicants do not contact an examiner, DMV will bill the customer for the $50 fee. If the bill isn't paid after 31 days, the agency will add an additional $10 administrative fee. Any unpaid bills after that period will be subject to further collection efforts and may be reported to the Virginia Department of Taxation. No DMV-related transactions will be allowed until the "no show" fee is paid.

Abusive Driver Fees for Serious Driving Violation Convictions and Demerit Points
Abusive driver fees are one component of the comprehensive transportation and land use legislative compromise enacted earlier this year. Abusive driver fees have been under consideration by the General Assembly for three years. The goal of the fee is to promote traffic safety and other states who have adopted similar programs have seen improvements in overall driver safety.

Convictions-Related Fees
Drivers convicted of serious traffic offenses will be charged conviction-related abusive driver fees. These fees do not apply to the typical traffic violation such as failure to yield, or parking too near a fire hydrant, for example. Abusive driver fees will only apply when the person is convicted of reckless driving, driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving under the influence, or other serious traffic offenses that occur after July 1, 2007. The fees can be paid in installments over three years. The fees are based on the following schedule:

* Driving on a suspended or revoked license - $250 each year for three years;
* Reckless or aggressive driving - $350 each year for three years;
* Driving while intoxicated - $750 each year for three years;
* Other misdemeanor convictions for driving and/or motor vehicle-related offense -$300 each year for three years;
* Any felony conviction for driving or motor vehicle-related offense - $1000 each year for three years.

Demerit Point Fees:

* Drivers who accumulate 8 or more demerit points will be charged demerit-point-related abusive driver. These fees can not be imposed for demerit points related to offenses committed prior to July 1, 2007. No single traffic violation results in 8 demerits points and a person has the option of attending a driver improvement clinic to reduce the points on their record. Bad drivers who accumulate and keep 8 or more demerit points will be charged $100 and will be charged an additional $75 for each demerit point over eight up to a maximum of $700.

Vehicle Registration Fees
Registration fees for passenger vehicles and pick up trucks will increase $10 statewide. The increases are part of a wide-ranging transportation funding law passed by this year's General Assembly.

For most Virginians, the standard passenger vehicle registration will increase from $29.50 annually to $39.50 annually. Passenger vehicles weighing more than four thousand pounds will see a registration increase from $34.50 to $44.50. There are also several increases in registration fees for pick-up trucks and trailers, depending on weight. More fee information is available at

Antique License Plates and Special Plates
Virginia motorists who own antique vehicles should be aware of several changes governing the use of antique license plates.

* Applicants for antique license plates must show evidence of ownership or regular use of another passenger car or motorcycle.
* Applicants must submit notarized certification that their antique vehicle meets safety equipment requirements for the model year in which it was manufactured.
* Fees charged for registration and plate purchase changes from $10 annually to a one-time fee of $50.

Antique plates are available from DMV for vehicles with a model year that is more than 25 years old. New guidelines for these cars were prompted by concerns that many owners were registering older cars as antiques to avoid registration and safety inspection requirements.

Under the new law, if an antique vehicle owner is convicted of operating an antique vehicle determined to be unsafe or not properly equipped, DMV will suspend the owner's registration of the vehicle involved for five years.

Also beginning July 1, 2007, the authorization period begins for the following new special license plates approved by the 2007 session of the General Assembly: Fraternal Order of Police, Registered Nurses, United States Coast Guard, and Robert E. Lee. For each of the special plates authorized, DMV must receive 350 prepaid applications within 30 days beginning July 1, before moving forward with plate development.

No More Using Cell Phones for Drivers under Age 18
Virginia drivers younger than 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in Virginia while using a cellular telephone or other wireless communications devices. The new law prohibits the use of cell phones, even if they are considered to be hands-free. It also prohibits text-messaging while driving.

Except in a driver emergency or when the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped, drivers 18 years and younger may not use a cellular telephone or other wireless telecommunications device. All Virginia drivers under the age of 18 are issued provisional driver's licenses. A provisional license carries other limitations as well, such as restrictions on the number of passengers and driver curfews. The ban on cell-phone usage while driving is considered a secondary violation, similar in Virginia to safety belt laws.

New Age Requirements for Vehicle Booster Seats
Children riding in motor vehicles will be required to be properly restrained in a booster seat until they reach eight years of age. Currently, the law requires a child safety seat for children through the age of five.

Additionally, the new law requires rear-facing child seats be placed only in the back seat of a vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a back seat, the device may be placed in the front passenger seat, provided the airbag has been deactivated, or there is no airbag equipment.

An exemption to the new law is permitted, if a child's physician determines the use of a restraint system to be impractical due to the child's weight, physical fitness or any other medical reason. In these cases, any person transporting that child would need to carry a signed written statement by the physician explaining the reason for the recommended exemption.

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