Letters to the Editor: Reckless drivers are causing death and heartbreak. Keep them in check

Officials examine the charred wreckage of a crash near a gas station
Highway patrol and other officers investigate a fiery crash that killed five people Thursday in Windsor Hills at the intersection of Slauson and La Brea.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Steve Lopez nailed it again with his article about reckless drivers and car violence. People who speed, drive under the influence or violate traffic laws, and subsequently kill or badly maim others, should pay the consequences with jail time, stiff monetary fines and being prevented from driving again.

It is no wonder that there are so many hit and run accidents with fatal consequences, and, in the past week alone, at least one fiery crash with multiple fatalities when our laws are so lax. Lopez is absolutely correct that our legislators need to step up now to address this.

And while they are at it, why not address the issue of gun violence and treat owning guns like owning a car: require both licenses and training to obtain and keep guns, require insurance to cover damages and loss of life caused by illegal use of guns, and require periodic gun safety tests to keep gun licenses?


Mary Carlson, Mission Viejo


To the editor: The crash scene is just the beginning of the impact caused by selfish, drunk and/or careless drivers. For survivors, a hurricane of trauma follows that can include depression, hopelessness, anguish, loneliness and self-harm, which result in hours of therapy (if you can get it) and pills to get through the day. Next may come job/business loss, school struggles or dropping out, and retreating from social activity.

The depression, grief and pain are lifelong. Survivors don’t heal from or overcome the trauma; they simply learn to live with it. The holes in their hearts for the deceased will never close. But a drunk driver convicted of manslaughter can get six months and far less heartache. Maybe when a violent, deadly crash affects enough legislators, they’ll make a big stink about it.

Until then, survivors are left holding nothing but memories and sorrow not only for their loved ones, but for the future life they could have shared, and that is a prison unto itself.

Cathleen Yates, Norco


To the editor: Perhaps car manufacturers and their advertising should be held accountable for encouraging high-speed driving, since their TV ads show their cars exceeding the speed limit and racing on city streets. Rather than a “professional driver on a closed course,” they should show a “student driver on a crowded street.”


To reduce speeding and one of the causes of climate warming, the federal government should also limit a car’s horsepower and limit MPG on every vehicle, not just the fleet average. Improving gas mileage reduces the amount of gasoline needed, which will help lower the cost of fuel at the pump. Electric vehicles should also have speed limiters to increase their range and lower the amount of electricity needed per mile.

Bruce A. Bailey, Pasadena


To the editor: “Running a red light” is a common phrase in accident reports in newspapers and on the radio. As a long-time driver, when I approach a traffic signal that turns yellow, I slow and stop. I have observed that I am one of the few who do this. When most motorists approach a signal that turns yellow, they step on the accelerator to speed up and burst through the intersection.

What can we do to protect ourselves from such common rash behavior? I caution my children that when waiting at a red light, do not rush into the intersection when the light turns green. Wait a moment and look both ways to make certain that oncoming traffic has stopped.

Yes, one has to defend oneself from typical drivers. When slowing to a stop at a signal that turns yellow, look in your rear mirror to determine whether the car behind you is also slowing — the driver behind you might be accelerating. And waiting a moment after the signal turns green might get you some nasty honking from the car behind you, but as my father taught me, “don’t let the guy behind you drive your car with his horn.”

Martin A. Brower, Corona del Mar



To the editor: Lopez’s article on the rise of willful dangerous driving in Los Angeles highlights the lack of adaptation and policy changes our leaders are not addressing. Traffic laws are being ignored and violated with impunity by drivers speeding, tailgating, running a red light or stop sign or making illegal U-turns.

Selfish and reckless drivers drive on surface streets at freeway speeds. Some engage in street racing and hazardous takeovers of intersections. Where is the monitoring, the enforcement, the crackdown on illegal driving behaviors that put so many lives at risk? And why is the assault on our neighborhoods, shattered by the noise of racing exhausts — built into factory automobiles or purchased on the aftermarket — allowed to continue?

Yes, indeed, it is time for compliance and, short of that, confiscation of the “vehicle weaponry” that too many choose to inflict on others.

Alan Kishbaugh, Los Angeles