Virginia State Police hope to roll out digital ticketing program to entire Commonwealth

Virginia News

'e-summons' technology could cut traffic stop times in half, report suggests

Virginia State Police wants to digitize its ticket-writing process statewide, a move that could drastically reduce the amount of time it takes troopers to conduct traffic stops.

The department said in a report that all parties involved, including even the court system, would benefit from an ‘e-summons’ ticketing program that 100 troopers in Northern Virginia have been piloting since June.

Compared to the traditional hand-written method for issuing summonses, VSP says the pilot program has trimmed traffic stop times by an average of 16 minutes — from 26 minutes per stop down to 10 minutes — thus limiting the amount of time both troopers and drivers are exposed to potential roadside dangers.

In addition to cutting the amount of time it takes troopers to issue hand-written citations in half, VSP says the program would also improve efficiency by eliminating the need for data entry and reducing errors caused by illegible handwriting.

Here’s how it works:

When issuing a summons, VSP troopers would be able to scan a driver’s driver’s license and/or vehicle registration, input their alleged offense and upload the information electronically directly to the court system’s database. The trooper can also print a copy of the typewritten summons for the violator.

By cutting the amount of time it takes to handwrite and manually submit data, VSP said the ‘e-summons’ program could free up thousands of additional work hours for departments.

“Based on the preliminary data the reduction in time to issue a traffic summons, using the E-Summons program would free over 22,000 additional work hours per year in the pilot division (82,700 summonses times 16 minutes saved each, divided by 60),” the department said in its report. “That is the equivalent of adding more than 11 troopers to the division.”

Statewide, VSP said the work hours saved would be the equivalent of adding 66 troopers to patrol duties.

VSP said the pilot program received nearly $2 million to cover development and implementational funding costs in the North Virginia region during fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The cost to fully equip a state police patrol vehicle with the equipment and technology needed to operate the pilot project was $12,617.

If the General Assembly were to grant VSP permission to charge a $5 fee paid for by the offender, the department said no additional funding would be necessary to implement the program statewide.

VSP is not included in current Virginia code that allows, ‘any county, city, or town to assess an additional sum not in excess of $5 as part of the costs in each criminal or traffic case to support law enforcement costs for an electronic summons system.’

“If the Virginia State Police was authorized to utilize the same funding source approved for every other county, city, and town in the Commonwealth, the Department would be able to incrementally expand the E-Summons Pilot Program across the state without having to request additional funding from the General Assembly.”

Virginia State Police

CLICK HERE to read the full report from Virginia State Police.

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