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Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 08/12/2009

A Bethesda Speed Trap

By washingtonpost.com editors

S.D. Soopramanien
Chevy Chase

When my husband and I both picked up our first-ever speeding tickets during the same week and along the same westbound stretch of East West Highway between Connecticut and Wisconsin avenues in Bethesda, we figured that this was no coincidence. It took just one visit to the scene of the crime to discover the culprit: a reduced-speed sign hidden behind a thick curtain of foliage and essentially invisible to motorists.

It goes without saying that, in a case of failure to obey a traffic sign, there should be a traffic sign in place that is clearly visible to motorists. At $40 each, our speeding tickets were still less expensive than it would have been for us to take time off from work to challenge their legality. But that does not relieve the county of its responsibility to ensure that the fines that it collects are imposed in accordance with the law.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 12, 2009; 10:39 AM ET
 
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Comments

You failed to mention that the camera is positioned in front of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. I work in the office building across the street. Countless times each week I hear the screech of tires and kids screaming. I dread the day that I might hear the sickening thump of some otherwise upstanding citizen's car snuffing out a parent's pride and joy.

You and your husband would do us all a favor to slow down.

Posted by: eed017 | August 12, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

To eed107: Your concern about the safety of kids is entirely legitimate. This is why it is important for reduced-speed sign posts to be clearly visible to motorists, and capable of being obeyed and acted upon in real time, not hidden behind a thick cover of foliage. This is what sign posts are for, and that was the whole point of the original comment.

Posted by: billshanks | August 12, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the healthy, albeit unsolicited, driving advice. With 50 years of driving experience between us, and no previous speeding ticket or accident to report (touch wood !!!) other than a couple of minor fender-benders, we are justifiably proud – thank you very much – of our driving record. If you are as concerned as you say you are about the screeching and screaming, rather than barking up the wrong ‘tree’, so to speak, perhaps you would consider joining us in doing what we can to ensure that warning signs are prominently displayed, not hidden behind a protective layer of tree leaves, particularly in the vicinity of our schools.

Posted by: SDS204 | August 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

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