Police Respond to Critics on Indian Head Highway Enforcement

WASHINGTON — Police and their critics agree that there are too many crashes on Indian Head Highway, also known as Maryland 210. High-speed and reckless drivers combined with numerous intersections raise the risk of crash. But Prince George’s County police insist that critics are wrong when they say police are not doing enough to enforce traffic laws on the roadway — police argue that their efforts have made a difference.

“We have had a steep decline not only in traffic collisions, but in traffic fatalities,” said the county’s police Deputy Chief Chris Murtha. “Traffic fatalities have shown a decrease — about 35.9 percent from last year alone — and over the last three years, we’ve had a steady decrease in traffic fatalities.”

The AAA Mid-Atlantic identified 14 fatal crash deaths on the roadway from 2013 through 2016 and highlighted complaints from people who live and work in the area who say that aggressive and reckless driving have gone unchecked by police.

“We’ve got robust enforcement on 210 — there’s no question about it and the numbers speak to that,” said Murtha, who heads the department’s Bureau of Patrol and Special Operations. “We’ve been very focused on it. Last year, we had 3,665 traffic stops alone on Indian Head Highway.”

Reckless, stunt-riding motorcyclists have sometimes exasperated and frightened drivers on the roadway. Murtha says police have been making extra efforts against illegal riding, including aerial surveillance and web-based investigations into biker groups.

Murtha added, “We will suppress and, hopefully, move toward eliminating that type of driving behavior by motorcyclists not only on Indian Head Highway, but throughout Prince George’s County.”

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