Thick traffic and a growing number of speed cameras are not stopping extreme “super speeding” in the Washington, D.C.-area, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.
A review of state and city court records shows almost 200,000 cases of reckless driving above 80 mph or driving more than 30 mph above the speed limit during the past five years.
In some communities, including Arlington County, Virginia, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, the number of reckless or extreme speeders has risen in recent years despite the deployment of speed cameras to reduce speeding.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, court records show about 7,000 cases of drivers charged with driving more than 80 mph. They show about 2,000 cases in Prince William County.
In several cases reviewed by the I-Team, extreme speeding was recorded by the speed cameras themselves. In recent months, drivers were clocked exceeding 90 mph by cameras in Montgomery County, Maryland, along Germantown Road in Germantown and Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase.
Montgomery County Police Capt. Thomas Didone said the department will respond whenever extreme speeding is reported.
“Super speeding is an extreme danger,” Didone said. “We have to enforce for safety.”
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The I-Team, alongside a Maryland State Police Forestville barracks trooper, also reviewed Beltway traffic on an autumn weekday afternoon. Trooper Roy Preau clocked several cars exceeding 85 mph.
“If you're not in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it's routine out here,” Preau said. “The speeds are in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit."
Excessive speeding is responsible for a recent series of fatal accidents in the Washington, D.C.-region. In 2013, a driver exceeded 100 mph and crashed into a pedestrian near Baltimore City Hall, state police said.
In Upper Marlboro, investigators cited excessive speed in a double-fatal crash along Woodyard Road. The driver, who police said crossed a double-yellow line to pass another car, crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by Gail Cook near the Clinton Christian School, killing Cook.
Cook’s daughter, News4 producer Sam Akinduro, told the I-Team drivers should know Woodyard Road is winding and dark and an unsafe street on which to speed.
“Everybody feels they have somewhere to go, faster than anyone else,” she said.
Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Jeff Piper.