Recently the Mid-Atlantic AAA spokesman John Townsend stated in an article published by WTOP that the District of Columbia leads the region in fatal hit and run accidents. This comparison in no way portrays an accurate picture of the state of traffic safety in the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department would like to set the record straight.
Mr. Townsend cites that, “many of the drivers who fled the scene were drunk, unlicensed or driving unregistered cars.” Mr. Townsend obviously did not check his facts. Just this year, the MPD received an award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association for huge decreases in our overall traffic fatality rates to include the second largest drop nationally in impaired driving fatalities with a decrease of almost 40 percent.
Mr. Townsend goes on to state, “tougher penalties combined with a better understanding of the legal consequences of hit and run accidents may be a partial solution.” This statement is also out of character for Mr. Townsend, as he is generally positioned against the District of Columbia’s photo enforcement program, which is a large factor in our historically low traffic fatality trends.
According to Chief Cathy L. Lanier, “The best way to prevent reckless and deadly driving isn't simply to punish the drivers after a fatal hit-and-run, but to have the strong laws and enforcement measures that catch these drivers when they are still committing less serious offenses – exactly what AAA Mid-Atlantic often opposes.”
As you can see, the District of Columbia leads the nation in reducing traffic fatalities. Our safety campaigns and enforcement efforts – including automated traffic enforcement – are helping to make our roads safer for all who use them.
Metropolitan Police Department