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Anti-Tailgating Program Succeeds In Creating Gridlock

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Photo by gmonster25


Honk if you didn't see this coming from a mile away...

LACEY, WASH. (AP) - An anti-tailgating strategy on Interstate 5 backfired in the form of unexpected traffic jams, state transportation officials have discovered.


Officials from the state Transportation Department and Washington State Patrol planned to meet Monday to reassess the $35,000 Two Dots To Safety pilot program on a two-mile stretch of the freeway north of this Thurston County town. Similar programs are in use in Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Road crews painted dots 80 feet apart and posted signs telling drivers to stay at least two dots - 160 feet - from the vehicle ahead, based on the traffic safety principle of being at least two seconds behind another vehicle when going 60 mph.

Long backups developed Saturday, the day after the program began, when drivers slowed down because of heavy traffic and continued to maintain the two-dot separation, although that much distance was not necessary at slower speeds, said Lisa Mordock, a Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Which reminds me of Professor Bainbridge's comment [on red-light cameras making intersections less safe], "The law of unintended consequences once again rears it ugly head and bites safety regulators in the ass."


Comments (12)

Spreading cars out by that ... (Below threshold)
eman:

Spreading cars out by that much is the equivalent of shortening the roads by a factor of four!

My dog could have figured that one out.

Somebody OD'd on stupid-pills again.

No stupid pills required. T... (Below threshold)
scrapiron:

No stupid pills required. This is Wash. state which is in a constant state of supidity.

Sorry, Pal, Mass. is way du... (Below threshold)
eman:

Sorry, Pal, Mass. is way dumber than Wash. We have the Big Dig.

Doesn't every states' drive... (Below threshold)

Doesn't every states' drivers' manual and traffic laws dictate you should follow a safe distance behind the car ahead? It's been awhile, but I remember I had to know the reaction and braking distances at various speeds just to pass my written test.

What's next, then? Government agents to DRIVE us everywhere, too? Why should we be trusted to obey ANY of the traffic laws?

The problem is that those l... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

The problem is that those little blue dots stay spaced so far no matter what prevailing speed the traffic is moving. Now, if those little dots were smart enough to respace themselves when the overall speed decreases...

The real problem is that th... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The real problem is that the road probably needs more lanes or there needs to be another freeway.

Is this staged? Don't the c... (Below threshold)
Alexandra:

Is this staged? Don't the cars in the front row look just alike? Others in the back look remarkably similar too.

The real problem is that a ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

The real problem is that a lot of people are just really bad at math. Painting the dots was a collosally stupid idea because the distance of the dots varies with speed. You want cars 2 seconds apart--not a fixed 80 feet apart. Could have save a ton of money and headache if they had just placed signs and a slogan of 2 SECONDS apart and not 2 DOTS apart.

People just don't think a lot of things through.

Hmmm.Reminds me of... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Reminds me of the apocryphal story about where Boston, in a vain hope of improving traffic flow, turned all the "one way" signs inward towards the center of the city.

Which of course made it nearly impossible for anyone to actually leave Boston.

No idea if it's true, but it does amuse.

If the signs said to keep t... (Below threshold)

If the signs said to keep the separation only at freeway speeds, they would have been better off.

Hmmmm.If ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

If the signs said to keep the separation only at freeway speeds, they would have been better off.

Personally I think a vastly more effective sign would have been:

"Don't drive like a dick."

But I live in New Jersey ... well you get the idea.

How about a contest to desi... (Below threshold)
epador:

How about a contest to design a bumper sticker that says:

If you can read this you are close enough for me to _________. [c'mon, USE you Imagination folks!]

I'm sure it would get lots of attention, encourage a new line of bumper stickers and maybe even help educate the public and change the behavior of a few million unsafe drivers...

Without creating dots on the highway!




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