Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What is going on with all the dump trucks in the area, mostly on Brandywine Road near Aquasco Road and Cedarville Road, and in the areas on Route 5 near the Charles County/Prince George's county line?

These trucks are racing up and down the roads with no regard to speed limits or safety. I work on Brandywine Road, and I see these trucks day in and day out, constantly speeding and driving with their loads uncovered. I have a windshield crack to prove it. One company's drivers hardly ever cover their loads. In the past year, I know of three dump trucks overturning on Brandywine Road and one dump truck nearly knocking down an electric pole at Cederville Road and Brandywine Road. The tire marks are deep in the ground even today, telling of the near miss.

I know of a dump truck rear-ending a car heading north on Route 301, causing that car to enter the southbound lane, hit other cars and catch fire, killing the driver and injuring others.

When is this going to stop? How may others will have to die before a change will be made?

I've contacted the local police department and Maryland State Police about this matter. They send officers out, but once one truck driver sees the officer, they all slow down and/or cover their loads. Once the officer leaves, it's right back to business as usual.

Something has to be done to slow these trucks down and to ensure their loads are covered and that mud and gravel are removed from the wheels before they enter the roadways. I have made complaints to dump truck companies, only to hear, "Sure, we will take care of it." But nothing is ever done. . . .

I would like to see Prince George's County and the Maryland State Police conduct a joint task force to work this area, with portable scales, radar and inspection equipment. Maybe if these drivers are ticketed for speeding, uncovered loads, brakes out of adjustment and other safety issues, things might improve a little.

Donald Poole


Because most of the roads you list are in the southern edge of Prince George's County, here is what I would do. Gather some of your neighbors/co-workers who feel the same way and make an appointment to see the commander of the District 5 Prince George's County police substation, which covers this area. The substation is at 6707 Groveton Dr. in Clinton.

Perhaps police can set up the kind of comprehensive crackdown you are seeking. Meanwhile, if you find yourself behind a speeding or uncovered dump truck and you have a cell phone, county police spokesman Cpl. Robert Clark suggests that you call the District 5 substation at 301-856-3101 to report the incident. Police may be able to dispatch a squad car.

All in One

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Is there a way on The Washington Post's Web site to merge all your questions and answers for the week into one column? I know you zone different ways for each of the Extras, but it would be nice on the online site to have a consolidated column so that I don't have to read through multiple versions.

Rick Pike

Charles County

I've sent your request to the people, and I'll get back to you with the answer.

Dangerous Move

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

As I waited in the right lane at a stoplight, a car came flying up beside me in the left lane and attempted to make a right turn on red in front of me. It happened as the light turned green and I was moving through the intersection.

Is it legal to make a right turn on red from the left lane?

Cliff Cummins


No, not unless the lane is also designated as a right-turn lane. Otherwise, it's an illegal turn.

Dangerous Tracks

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Re: The freight railroad crossing at Route 301 in Upper Marlboro just south of Route 4. Both sides of the road approaching the railroad tracks are in serious need of repair. The grating covering part of the crossing is broken in several spots, causing damage to cars and trucks.

Vehicles are swerving way to one side to avoid those places.

Mary Lou McCormick

Upper Marlboro

I've reported this to the Maryland State Highway Administration. Spokesman Dave Buck has referred the matter to CSX, which has jurisdiction over such repairs. Buck says CSX apparently has a small staff to make those repairs.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers.