In a recent letter, Dick Bentz of Bethesda said he was hearing radio advertisements promoting the Smooth Operator and Checkpoint Strikeforce police programs, purportedly to crack down on aggressive and drunk drivers.
Bentz wrote that he has not seen "one iota of evidence that either program is in operation."
"None of the aggressive drivers that zoom past me every day, cutting in and out, seem to be at risk of being pulled over, nor have I seen any checkpoints designed to catch drunk drivers," Bentz wrote. "Someone is spending a lot of money on advertising. Is anybody spending any on implementing these two programs?"
I haven't seen any evidence, either.
I asked for your answers. Almost all of them were negative and bring into question the value of such programs. Here's a sample:
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I wanted to second your comments about the lack of police coverage of Beltway traffic. I drive 13 miles of the Beltway in Virginia at least twice a day, and except for responses to breakdowns and fender benders, I rarely see police.
People weave in and out, tailgate and make quick lane changes in tight conditions without signaling.
Between the rush hours, the average speed on the Beltway is now about 70 mph, with many going better than 75. And even at those speeds, we have the hotshots roaring through at 80 to 90 mph.
Rude and reckless driving (I don't like the term "aggressive") at those speeds will eventually cause a catastrophic, multicar pileup.
When that happens, I hope Virginia's state police are held fully accountable. They are doing absolutely nothing to control the situation and prevent disaster.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I see very little in the way of police activity designed to catch aggressive drivers, whether through specially designed and advertised programs or during daily traffic enforcement. It's as if traffic law enforcement is at the bottom of the priority list.
I live in Herndon, and near-anarchy seems to be the order of the day -- abrupt lane changes, tailgating, red-light running and out-of-control jaywalking, which endangers both pedestrian and driver.
The unfunny humor of traffic control activity in Herndon is that it seems most prevalent on Sunday mornings, when some of the traffic is undoubtedly church bound.
Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.
Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at email@example.com, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.