Being an automotive journalist can be a dangerous gig. No, we're not talking about the risk of carpal tunnel from typing for eight to ten hours a day, five to six days a week or the long periods of sitting. Instead, we're referring to what may be more obvious: the cars. For all of our talk and bravado when it comes to the high-performance vehicles we drive, testing a powerful vehicle on public roads requires a high degree of responsibility and judgment. Every journalist has found themselves lacking in these two key qualities at some point in their road-testing career (and those that claim they haven't are full of it). For the vast majority of us, it's a matter of when, not if, we'll run into trouble with the police.

That's just what happened to Jalopnik writer Patrick George. He was on a media program involving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 when he got nipped by the fuzz. But because he was driving in Virginia at the time, his offense – 93 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone – came with a lot more than a big fine, lots of points and a thorough dressing down from an officer. It came with jail time.

The situation, as Patrick rightly says, is one many of us have experienced. That's what makes his entire first-hand account of the events leading up to his speeding violation, as well as his three-day stint in the slammer, so disturbing. It just hits too close to home, whether you're road-testing a new Camaro like Patrick was or if you're simply headed home in your own vehicle. It's an excellent, sobering read and a highlight of the state of Virginia's borderline draconian driving laws as they relate to speeding.

Head over and take a look.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 71 Comments
      montegod7ss
      • 5 Months Ago
      First rule of driving in the East. Never ever ever drive in VA, unless your final destination is for some reason VA itself.
        gibbs5988
        • 5 Months Ago
        @montegod7ss

        It's kind of hard for me to not drive in Virginia since I've lived here all my life. I've never gotten a ticket and I regularly go over 80. 

      mitytitywhitey
      • 5 Months Ago
      Most commeters are missing the forest for the trees. In any state, you would be ticketed for 40 over. In Virginia, you go to jail instead of doing community service and driving school. It's a racket to keep the jails full so they get maximum tax dollar utilization. The judges and the lawyers benefit.
      Andrew Ramos
      • 5 Months Ago
      Good, Patrick is annoying.
      b.rn
      • 5 Months Ago
      In what state should you do 93 in a 55 zone?
        jtav2002
        • 5 Months Ago
        @b.rn
        You shouldn't anywhere, but plenty of states wouldn't send you to jail for. Plenty of states would be a fine and nothing more. I know someone who got pulled over doing over 90 in a 55, in a construction zone. Fine was really high. But no points or anything else.
        knightrider_6
        • 5 Months Ago
        @b.rn
        In land of the free AKA Texas
          KaiserWilhelm
          • 5 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          The land of the free...where a kid might spend life in prison for having some pot brownies! Texas can burn for all I care.
        v6sonoma
        • 5 Months Ago
        @b.rn
        93 is pushing it but 55 is bull $h!t. Most highways have people driving around 80 (legal or not) they are just being assholes looking to catch people and then screw them over.
      Richard
      • 5 Months Ago
      If people just set the cruise or maintained the exact speed posted, we would put a huge number of police officers out of work collecting revenue. The only reason they tag people is because people consistently feel like breaking the law. Better option to just chill out and get there when you get there. Ever since I stopped giving a crap what speed I drive at and just keep up with people on the HWY at the speed limit, my stress level has gone way down. If others can't simply be happy doing the speed limit, then they either need to A. figure it out for themselves or B. take it up with the law makers. I don't drive the speed limit to piss you off. I drive it because it makes the whole experience of driving so much calmer.
        jich8chy3chah8wurt2thuk3ghy7ly
        @Richard
        Agreed. After surviving a 90% morbidity cancer, removing oneself from the stress of a-holes around you is necessary for recuperation. That way, when like Car & Driver invites me to a track event, I go all balls out. Two weeks ago I won my Fiesta ST challenge and a GoPro3 ($300) camera! That's when I have fun and prove my mettle. Well, prove it to people that think driving fast is hard… surviving getting gutted like a fish for cancer AND kicking every kid's A$$ on the track.. that's double the fun! :) :)
          Brian
          • 5 Months Ago
          @jich8chy3chah8wurt2thuk3ghy7ly
          That's pretty awesome lol congrats
          jich8chy3chah8wurt2thuk3ghy7ly
          @jich8chy3chah8wurt2thuk3ghy7ly
          Thanks. No one was more surprised than ME that my time was lowest. I just drove with reckless abandon! :) So, this morning, I'm looking at local clubs that autocross… but with three teens… not sure I have the $$$ to spend on it at moment.
        Losferatu
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Richard
        You're on the wrong blog. Check out Family Circus Minivan Driver Online
          Herbie
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Losferatu
          Really? To post that you must have had some extra time in summer school. What, taking Algebra for second time wasn't engaging enough for you? So you had to flame Richard? Yeah, you're a REAL man and you showed him. I'm not impressed.
      jonnybimmer
      • 5 Months Ago
      Going to jail for speeding is pretty harsh, but then again 90 in a 55 is pretty dang fast. Even in empty freeways in the middle of nowhere (I5 between LA & SF for an example with its 70 mph limit), most folks still won't cruise faster than 80/85 since that's when you undoubtedly enter the "danger zone" for a ticket. I get it's a fast car that can handle speeds well into the triple digits, but speeding on a populated road, well, what did you expect would happen?
        SCOTTM
        • 5 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer

        Exactly, that's the "danger zone" for a ticket, not because it is "unsafe".

        That's the problem here. Speed limits are artificially set too low for revenue, not safety. They encourage "speeding".

        jtav2002
        • 5 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        It wasn't on a populated road. Did you read the article? If you did, you would also noticed that even going 81 would have carried the same exact charge that he got. They're not handing out tickets. They're charging people with criminal offenses.
      ihatemacs9
      • 5 Months Ago
      don't defend going 90 in a 55, whether in Germany or Virginia. you signed a contract to obey the laws and regulations in order to EARN the right to drive. if you don't like it, kill yourself before you kill someone else with your stupid sense of misguided entitlement.
        DaMan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ihatemacs9
        Looking at your nick, I'm sure you're one of these miserable people who stay in the left lane doing 55 mph and not letting people pass.. People like you are the problem not the one who go a bit faster. Germany has a lot fewer accidents with much higher speed limit.. How do I know ? I drove there!!
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 5 Months Ago
      1) 90 mph is slightly above the speed of traffic in metro detroit 2) Sometimes you just have the need for speed if done responsibly in a well maintained car, its perfectly okay like on the autobahn. But because a large portion of American's aren't competent enough to drive at all, let alone at high speed, unfortunately we are fed the non sense that speed kills rather than ignorance kills.
        cantera.developments
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        Welcome to the world of the autonomous vehicle where every scrap of personal liberty and individuality is emasculated. I don't mean to be flippant and speed limits are important, especially for the less skilled or driving poorly maintained vehicles, but really we are all here on Auto Blog because we love driving and cars, and at what point does one forego that experience and get into a module and get driven to work by a computer, with all the other automatons doing the same ?
        Joe Liebig
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        Agreed. Let me just add one more big issue on American Interstates: Overtaking on the right. This is something that just doesn't mix with 120 mph speeds.
      Louis MacKenzie
      • 5 Months Ago
      I know of an officer who got clocked 96 on 55. He got off with ticket for less because real number meant slammer and would have ended his new military career.
      mad4erit
      • 5 Months Ago
      Automotive journalists, of all people, should be more aware of the laws of the road and to the consequences of driving irresponsibly. Testing a performance vehicle on it's performance merits should take place on a closed course, period. The driver of the Camaro got exactly what he deserved, journalist or not.
        Daniel Hansen
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mad4erit
        From the article it was an empty country road. Obviously neither of us were there but the journalist sounds like he was only putting him and the people in his car at risk. It also sounds like that state is insane with its driving laws. Anything over 80 is reckless driving? How is that reasonable?
          mad4erit
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Daniel Hansen
          The speeds are irrelevant, the local laws are irrelevant.Why is it "OK" for a journalist (supposedly more capable behind the wheel) to break any law, be it traffic, copyright, etc? Automotive journalists should be preaching and practicing responsible driving, rather than defending a colleague that got caught.
        cantera.developments
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mad4erit
        W
      carnut0913
      • 5 Months Ago
      I speed. And Ive gotten my fair share of speeding tickets. But 75% over the speed limit- that is fairly ridiculous. Virginia is WELL known to be tight on their speeding laws. The guy was an idiot, and got nailed- as he well should have been. I just wish Kyle Bush had been in Va when he got nabbed the other year.
      JB
      • 5 Months Ago
      hmmm good to know, I speed through VA on 95 once or twice a year. though I usually keep it 13-14mph over the posted, not nearly 40.
        jtav2002
        • 5 Months Ago
        @JB
        Don't have to be going 40 over though, anything over 80, at least according to the article, is automatically raised to a reckless driving charge which is what he got. And at 90 or above they have the discretion of giving one day of jail per 1mph over 90. Which is why they gave him 3 days for doing 93.
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