DC, Maryland, and Virginia authorities will focus more intently on aggressive driving infractions in the metro area as part of the Smooth Operator program – an initiative to curb unsafe driving.
For the purposes of this campaign, aggressive driving is defined as, “…a combination of unsafe and unlawful driving actions, which demonstrate a conscious and willful disregard for safety. Aggressive driving includes such offenses as tailgating, unsafe lane changes, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, following too closely, improper passing and failing to yield the right of way.”
According to promotional literature for the Smooth Operator program, aggressive driving has become a problem in the metro area, in part, because:
- “The Washington region has the third-worst traffic congestion in the country.
- Drivers in the Washington area lose more hours to traffic delays than anywhere else in the country.
- Over the past 20 years, traffic on area roads has nearly doubled.”
As with any matter of public safety, the public plays a vital role in addressing the problem of aggressive driving. The Smooth Operator website offers these tips to avoid becoming an aggressive driver:
- “Allow more travel time to get to your destination. It reduces stress dramatically.
- Come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow lights.
- Let other drivers merge with you.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Don’t follow other drivers too closely.
- Resist temptation to teach someone ‘a lesson.’
- Concentrate on driving – not on the stereo, cell phone, passengers or other distractions.
- Remember that you can’t control traffic – but you can control yourself, your driving, and your emotions.”
Enforcement activities are complicated somewhat by the fact that Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia have separate procedures for reporting aggressive driving. In Maryland and Virginia, you should dial #77 (a non-emergency police number) to report aggressive driving, and your call will be directed to the appropriate officials. In DC, dial 311 (another non-emergency police number) to have your call directed appropriately.
To report aggressive driving by trucks and busses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a separate Safety Violation Hotline you can reach by dialing 1-888-DOT-SAFT. Additionally, you can report violations after-the-fact via a reporting tool on the agency’s website.
For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long PLLC at (202) 463-3030.