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Smooth Operator wants to kick dangerous driving to the curb

6:20 AM, Aug 1, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It is August. The roads feel empty and most of us shift gears into a relaxed summer mode but you might be surprised to learn that this is the deadliest summer travel month.

The Director of DDOT, Terry Bellamy, talked to us about the Smooth Operator program, which begins Thursday.  Last year at this time 50 people were killed in road accidents in Maryland alone. Bellamy told us what he thought the problem is.

"The problem is that the urban areas are a lot different from suburban or rural area of freeways. A lot of people are being very aggressive when they're driving. They're not paying attention. They're being distracted by a lot of different things. What Smooth Operator aims to do is to bring it to their attention to drive slower in these urban developments," said Bellamy.

The statistics aren't much better in the District. 

"It's very scary. One of the things that we are trying to do is to educate the public. When you see a car with [its] brake lights on, do not follow too closely. In nine out of 10 cases there's probably a pedestrian crossing in front of the car and that's why the brakes are on. We want to highlight this very seriously in the community," explained Bellamy.

Driving just a little faster can result in dire consequences. According to Bellamy, "The higher speed you're going, the chance of surviving an accident decreases. That's where we're subjecting slow down in the District of Columbia. The posted speed limit is usually 25 miles an hour. We would like them to go even slower in some areas, especially since school opens in August. We have some schools opening next week."

That means more pedestrians out on the road. There's also the issue of texting a driving.

"Last year we had an opportunity to bring a lot of teenage drivers in to talk about distracted driving. They were astounded by the extent that occurred just by trying to text. When you're driving you should drive," said Bellamy.

The Smooth Operator program kickoff at 11 a.m. at 600 New York Avenue will features some demonstrations showing the impact of distracted driving.

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