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The traffic on U.S. 17, late on a Sunday afternoon.

After 16 years of  local activism, tangible measures  to address speeding on Fauquier County highways  are one step away from becoming  law. Two “traffic calming”  bills  passed the  Virginia  General Assembly  last week and now go to the governor for signature.  Both bills were sponsored by State Sen. Jill Vogel, R-27th.

Scott Filling, a Fauquier resident who lives on U.S. 17 near  Belvoir  Road, has lobbied for traffic calming measures on  the  road since 2004, eventually gathering about 400 signatures in support of action to improve safety on the stretch of U.S. 17 between Marshall and Warrenton.  

“We just wanted to restore balance,” said Filling, who  thanked especially Vogel, Fauquier Sherriff Bob Mosier and Fauquier Supervisor Holder Trumbo for supporting the legislation.  

If signed into law, Senate Bill 556  would  add  $15  to the fine for exceeding the speed limit  on the Fauquier stretches of U.S. 17 and U.S. 15, which combined  total  about 64 miles  within the county. Under current law, the fine for exceeding the speed limit starts at $6 per mile-per-hour over the limit; the fine increases in school zones and residential areas.  

Senate Bill 557 requires the state to place at least six permanent  electronic speed-indicator signs  on  U.S. 17 between  Warrenton and Marshall. Signs  displaying the speed limit and the current speed of the approaching vehicle  would be placed  facing northbound and southbound drivers near the intersections of  Belvoir  Road, Old Tavern Road and  Blantyre Road.  

“The goal was speed signs and posting of increased fines, both to serve as a deterrent to traveling at unsafe speeds,” said Vogel.  

Sheriff Mosier said that the speed indicator signs serve as a reminder to drivers, which is especially important on highways with few stops. He added  that  signs warning of increased fines would “put people on notice.” He emphasized that distracted driving, along with speeding, account for most vehicle crashes.  

Filling said the success of the legislation was a testament to the power of a community working together. “If you have a common, big issue that affects the community,” he said, “get on board and stick together, and you can accomplish things you never thought you could.”

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