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Today's read: The Beltway's danger zone

Commuter Page Feature: The stretch of Interstate 495 that rolls through Prince George's County makes up less than a third of the Capital Beltway, but in the past three years it has accounted for 70 percent of its traffic fatalities. (Ashley Halsey III)

Halsey's story appeared on Sunday's Commuter page in The Post along with this graphic and map. He noted that the Beltway in Prince George's is not the most heavily traveled portion. It carries10,000 to 30,000 fewer vehicles a day than some segments in Montgomery County. But it is the part where long-distance drivers are most likely to blend with our local traffic.

Dr. Gridlock: I got a letter from a reader talking about the relationship between speed cameras and human behavior. It takes us a long time to adjust, she said, but she made the adjustment.

Join me at noon for our weekly discussion of all our traffic and transit concerns. To read the chat, use this link. To submit a question or comment in advance, use this one.

By Robert Thomson  |  October 19, 2009; 10:11 AM ET
 | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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Next: Headaches on the horizon


Why would the mixing of local and long-distance traffic produce a ton of single-car accidents in the overnight hours, and only a few multi-car collisions during drive time?

Posted by: tomtildrum | October 19, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't help when State Police oficers and especially PG County officers seem to drive like the speed limit is somewhere north of 75 mph. Most of the officers I see (particularly PGCPD) are out of uniform in marked police cars, and hence, presumed to be off duty.

Posted by: ceebee2 | October 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, I just read the chat transcript and at the end you disagreed with a poster that the problems on the beltway in Prince George's are due to the locals. I drive the stretch between US 50 and New Hampshire Ave (county line) every day and it is most assuredly NOT the out-of-state drivers who are the problem. It is all the vehicles with Maryland tags. The only problem I see with the out-of-staters (and it isn't much) is getting over for the I-95 exit.

I also frequently drive I-95 north of beltway and the same observation holds true. The out-of towners might not be sure of where they are but it is the locals who are driving like idiots.

Posted by: ceebee2 | October 19, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I meant to add that things might be different outside of rush hour, but I kind of doubt it.

Posted by: ceebee2 | October 19, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The question re: the PG County section of the Beltway has a clear answer, if you've ever driven it overnight. It has nothing to do with out-of-town traffic using I-95.

That stretch of the Beltway, at that time of night, is pretty empty and has a "wide open" feel. It's easy to go VERY fast, and to not even notice it. I've seen cars racing, cars weaving in and out of traffic, people driving on the shoulder - in ways that I've never seen during daylight. And nearly all of them are Maryland plates.

Posted by: DCMike1 | October 19, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ceebee2 re the PGCPD cars. There are various other "police" cars out there that also cruise at high speeds. With all the different police cars on the beltway there you'd think it'd be the safest segment. The state police are usually the slowest ones.

Posted by: wlevey | October 19, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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