There is near-anarchy on the streets of this city, particularly at intersections. Stop lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossings, no-right-turn-on-red and no-left-turn signs as well as posted speed limits have all become mere guidelines to be heeded only by the cautious, defensive driver.
Heading the list, however, and probably the most hazardous to other drivers and pedestrians alike, is running red or yellow lights. Police patrol vehicles, cruising or otherwise, can be counted among the offenders, thereby setting the worst and most conspicuous example for other citizens. Probably the most blatant offenders are the new breed of untrained, irresponsible taxi cab drivers.
The red light offenders represent only one of a lengthy list of common driving practices that make an appearance on Washington streets an exhilarating, if not a life-threatening, experience. "Watch the pedestrian run" has become the name of the game.
Wherein lies the remedy? Law enforcement is the first step -- enforcement by police officers familiar with the rules of the road and motivated to see them obeyed.
Enforcement must be backed up by fines and/or punishment that fit the crime. Would a fine of $500 for running a red light be considered excessive if it were equated with the value of just one human life?
A media campaign of a meaningful magnitude -- i.e., daily coverage aimed at raising public awareness of the problem -- would provide effective support to those charged with enforcement.
NEVIN E. KUHL Washington