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.

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