A pickup truck driver struck and killed 70-year-old Carol Joan Tomason, of Chapel Hill, NC, on Friday morning. It's the ... eh, I can't even keep count. This is happening way too much, and any number of times is too much.

Daniel Schep had to reset his counter clock that shows how long it's been since a person on foot, bike, or scooter was killed.

Advocates are weary and frustrated by the massive number of memorial rides and rallies they've organized in the last few months. Not to mention people who weren't memorialized.

When's the action?

We know that if Metro had had this many deaths in this timeframe, the federal government would have shut down Metro entirely. If this was in the air, planes would be grounded.

What's the equivalent here? Shouldn't DC take some strong action, possibly even seemingly overboard, to make streets safe? I somewhat jokingly, but only somewhat, suggested an immediate 25-mph speed limit (should be 20, some pointed out) and reducing all multi-lane roads to one. After all, we know it's necessary for trucks, buses, vans for people with disabilities, etc. to get to all buildings, but we don't have to continue accommodating large volumes of high-speed traffic.

The feds would have shut down Metro because they believed there was no systematic safety culture. Clearly, that's the case on the roads as well. But Paul Goldman has a good suggestion. In industries like aviation which do have a good safety culture, there's a thorough investigation of every crash, followed by safety recommendations. Which are followed. What about the same here?

Image by Joe Flood licensed under Creative Commons.

Hit-and-run Constitution Avenue driver charged with murder

The driver who killed Thomas Hollowell at 12th and Constitution on September 24, then sped away, has been arrested and charged with second degree murder. The driver, Philip Peoples, has five earlier traffic violations in Maryland, WUSA reported, and “gave a false statement to police during the investigation by saying he was not in the suspect vehicle.”

Supporters of road safety seem relieved the police and prosecutors are taking this seriously, though there's also some concern that the charge, more serious than just negligent homicide, would be hard to prove. Establishing second degree murder requires the jury to find that the defendant “intended to kill or seriously injure” the victim, or “acted in conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury.”

Maybe a jury would agree that someone with five violations was conscious at the time that his behavior could result in death or serious bodily injury, and we don't know what evidence the police found. In the typical bad driver's case, however, they simply think they are more in control and more able to avoid incidents than they really are. But we'll find out more as this case evolves.

Thumbnail: Ted Eytan by Rally for Streets that Don’t Kill People licensed under Creative Commons.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.