California drivers are better than they’re given credit for

Reader doesn't agree with Allstate's report, which rates Los Angeles drivers among the worst.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

I strongly disagree with the column on California drivers that says “Los Angeles drivers stink” (“Leave Risky Driving Behind,” On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, Sept. 30).

Brownsville, Texas, may be No. 1 in safety, but we all know statistics lie. I hazard a guess that it’s No. 1 because there is no one there in the summer and in the winter it is all elderly snowbirds who don’t drive faster than 30 mph.

I know whereof I speak: I am one of those elderly whose husband retired 12 years ago. We bought an RV and have traveled the U.S. roads at least four months a year since, from Alaska to Maine to Florida and yes, to Brownsville.

After being on the roads with drivers from every state, I strongly believe that California drivers (and that includes L.A.) are the best in the nation, and I state that with a happy smile every time we cross the California border heading home.

If you put any of these other drivers on our freeways or streets, you would see so many accidents your head would spin. We do drive fast, and we do it with a lot of traffic, and overall, we do it quite well.


Hats off to my fellow California drivers!

Kay Smith


Their delightful flight

I would like to add this anecdote to the topic of those with disabilities and their attitude toward air travel (“Help for Reaching the Sky,” All Systems Go by Yomi S. Wrong).

In July 1974, my wife, Mary, and I chaperoned a group of individuals from Tehama, Shasta and Trinity counties in Northern California on a trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Special Olympics held at UCLA. As part of the journey we flew from Sacramento to L.A., and I’m fairly certain that this was the first trip by air for the three dozen or so young people with disabilities.

I’ll always treasure the reaction of this group, who broke into spontaneous applause and cheers the moment the plane lifted off the runway.

David Lawson

Santa Barbara

Friend got her toga moment

The lively write-up on “Animal House” (“Hazy Memories of ‘Animal House’” by Christopher Reynolds, Sept. 23) and Eugene environs was much appreciated by this Oregon Duck (bachelor of arts, 1977). Best years of my life.

I missed the casting call for John Landis’ gross-out classic by just one summer. I’d graduated and had headed to for Japan, a hip destination in those early days of the Asian economic bubble.

But one friend, who had been a teen model while growing up in Pasadena, made the call and is featured prominently in the toga party scene, dead center in the frame as the revelers squat before Otis Day and the Knights. She is the cute brunet with the pageboy cut and the garland of flowers. Her 15 minutes.


Joe Hlebica

San Diego Chapter, University of Oregon Alumni Assn.