Beware Bad Drivers in DC!

If you’ve ever driven in the District, all it takes is about 30 seconds on the road to realize there can be more than a few bad drivers on the road at any given time in Washington, DC. Of course, the same can be said about drivers in any city, but those of us who frequently drive in the DC Metro area are keenly aware of how awful traffic–and yes, some other drivers–can be. But Washington, DC is about to take on bad drivers head-to-head in an effort to deter their dangerous driving habits.

Cell Phone Warnings Sent Straight to Drivers

According to an intriguing story by the Washington Post, the city is working to identify especially egregious drivers with a history of traffic violations (like speeding tickets or running red lights). They’ll then send direct messages to their cell phones, reminding them of their past traffic transgressions and warning them that their driving habits increase their risk of being involved in a fatal car accident.

Once identified, a sample of these drivers will receive “tailored” messages to kick off the city’s 18-month pilot program. The goal: to determine whether targeting messages to high-risk drivers is enough to prevent accidents from occurring. It’s a novel concept and is considered the first of its kind in the country–and it’s coming at the right time, as serious and fatal crashes in the DC continue to happen in the DC Metro area.

Will It Work?

Washington, DC leaders point to evidence that shows drivers with multiple traffic offenses are more likely to be involved in crashes. On the other side of that coin, some researchers point out that the time a driver spends on the road and their exposure to traffic enforcement systems (such as speed and red-light cameras) have to be considered in the equation.

Regardless, city officials hope the data from this program can help them track drivers who simply don’t care about receiving fines or even paying them.

A group from The Lab @DC, an agency within Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, will be sorting through data from the District’s automated traffic enforcement program, specifically focusing on paid and unpaid speeding red-light camera citations. They will create a campaign that includes text messages and possibly mail targeted at these drivers in hopes that it will change their dangerous driving behavior. It’s an innovative, forward-thinking plan, but only time will tell if it will have the desired impact, leading to fewer crashes.

Understandable Skepticism

There are, understandably, some who aren’t convinced this is the answer to the dangerous driving problems in the DC Metro area. One could argue, if those who have received citations and didn’t bother paying them, why would an initiative like this change their behavior? Even for those who actually do pay their citations, if they’ve received multiple tickets, the threat of financial penalty obviously isn’t enough to curb their reckless driving.

City officials seem to be holding out hope that a personal, tailored text message to someone’s cell phone might be the wake-up call these drivers need. Something along the lines of, “Uh oh…they’re watching me right now, so I better be careful.” And it may, in fact, achieve that goal.

In the meantime, the city’s other measures–including lowering the city street speed limit to 20 MPH and some neighborhood streets to 15 MPH—are under study now.

DC Personal Injury Lawyer

We’ll have to wait and see how effective this program is, but it’s a good start. That said, accidents are still going to happen. And when they do, you’ll want an experienced car accident attorney in your corner if you or a loved one is injured.

With The Lapidus Law Firm, that’s precisely what you’ll get. If you’re involved in a car crash with injuries seemingly serious or minor–call us at (202) 785-5111 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you might be in a position to collect a fair, reasonable settlement. Get in touch with us today because we’re committed to making justice work for you.

Written By Larry Lapidus

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