WASHINGTON — With more people commuting on the roads because of Metro’s SafeTrack program, there’s added frustration for drivers. It comes as area law enforcement begin an annual campaign targeting aggressive drivers.
On a closed street, a police officer shows reporters the difference between the stopping distance drivers are allowed at 25 mph versus 35 mph. Without enough time to stop, a traffic dummy, nicknamed Bobby, went flying through the air.
The demonstration was a part of area law enforcement’s announcement of the Smooth Operator campaign launched ahead of each summer, to reduce traffic fatalities by targeting aggressive drivers.
“Certainly speeding is the most prevalent, but we should also think about tailgating, following too closely, failing to use a signal and not letting someone into a lane as the behaviors of aggressive driving,” said Chrissy Nizer, an administrator with the Maryland Vehicle Administration.
Last year, 521 people died on Maryland roadways — 78 more than the previous year, Nizer said. However, nationally, 2015 was also a deadly year on the roads, made worse by hothead drivers.
More cyclists, pedestrians and drivers are on the roads because of the SafeTrack work, meaning there may be more people who are unaccustomed to rush-hour traffic. Because of this, there is a concern there could be more frustration that leads to aggressive driving.
However, D.C. Police Assistant Chief Lamar Greene said as long as everyone obeys the rules of the road, there should not be a problem traversing the city at any time of day.
So far in 2016, three pedestrians have died in the District. Last year, 26 people lost their lives, so Greene said he hopes that means this year will stay on track to be less deadly.
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