Letters to the Editor: Yes, L.A. drivers are getting worse. Readers speculate why

Cyclists ride in a bike lane as traffic stacks up on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.
Cyclists ride in a bike lane as vehicle traffic stacks up on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood on Oct. 28, 2021.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Yes, drivers in L.A. seem to be getting more reckless. I theorize that there is fine print on the birth certificates of a significant number of drivers that says this: “You are immortal. Tough luck for those who aren’t.” (“Are L.A. drivers suddenly more OK with endangering lives?” Opinion, Feb. 25)

Speed limits are just suggestions. The same lack of concern for the welfare of others was demonstrated by the large number of people who refused to get vaccinated: They weren’t going to get COVID-19, and the thought of giving it to others wasn’t even a thought.

I believe that one of the worst decisions ever made in schools was the cancellation of driver’s education classes in many districts. Driving is a collective activity, a privilege and not a right. How does a privately paid instructor impart that concept to a single customer?


Is it really a wonder that people think driving is all about them?

Karen Robinson-Stark, Pasadena


To the editor: I completely agree with Paul Thornton on the antisocial behavior of some drivers. I’ve witnessed similar incidents.

But to be honest, I’ve also seen reckless and thoughtless behavior on the part of bicyclists, e-scooter drivers and pedestrians as well. I fear the problem is much deeper than just drivers.

Something is very wrong.

Steve Tarzynski, Santa Monica


To the editor: I find it both sad and amusing that an editor at The Times is complaining about the breakdown of civil driving in Los Angeles, when for years the editorial board has favored less enforcement of “minor” infractions.

Why should the police make any effort to enforce these laws when there is a lack of support from the media, pressure groups and politicians to do so?

Andrew Bressler, Culver City


To the editor: As a longtime cyclist and motorcycle rider in Los Angeles, I would concur with Thornton’s observations about motorist behaviors that, on a good day, amount to benign neglect.

The unpredictably aggressive behavior of drivers became so problematic that after 32 years of riding in and around L.A., the “danger element” became an almost constant factor that made it no longer amusing.

My perfectly fine motorcycle is now more or less unused. The “kill or be killed” mentality of many car drivers makes the idea of a nice ride through the canyons unthinkable. Even now, driving my car has become a “mano a mano” experience.

Fritz Hudnut, Venice


To the editor: Neither the temperament assessment nor social shaming that Thornton recommends will make streets safe for pedestrians, as long as those streets are designed to incentivize speeding and other reckless driving behaviors.

Planning streets that are safe for pedestrians and cyclists will make our streets safer for all who use them.

David Billett, Glendale


To the editor: Everyone feels that unless they are multitasking, they are wasting their precious time. That includes talking nonstop while driving. It doesn’t matter what age the drivers are — teens zipping by, old folks clutching the wheel for dear life or adults in fancy cars.

The pandemic gave many of us a much-needed break from our cars. It was like doing yoga — breathe in and out, no cars, no roads, no traffic.

Now people are frantic to get here or there. Unlike riding a bike, one has to learn all over again the rules of courtesy on the road.

Cynthia Kokawa Lerner, Los Angeles