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Speeders Imperil Malibu Residents

September 01, 1985

As a resident of the Las Flores section of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, I am concerned about the high rate of dangerous speed exhibited by a large percentage of drivers this year. If this flagrant disregard for posted speed is allowed to continue, it will be just a matter of time before each of us is another statistic (let us pray not a fatal one).

Frantic drivers, desperate to get somewhere, use this rural road as if it were Interstate 5 or Freeway 10. I get shivers up my spine every time I open my front door and have to face racing drivers, daring each other with speeds of 60 miles and upwards per hour, hit the turn nearest our house as if it were the Autobahn in Germany.

One such driver, with hardly any brakes, lost control of his speeding vehicle and ran into my wife's car (while she was sitting in it) parked in front of our house. As a result, my wife suffered a severe neck injury and continues to suffer to this day. This happened just a few months after we moved into our new house. My wife wasn't the only casualty in our family. Our little dog succumbed to a careless driver who swung too wide onto the shoulder in our front door area.

The bumpy, unstable roads (from earth movements, slides, and other traffic conditions) are hard to negotiate at high speeds. Also, short visibility on some turns makes it extremely difficult for fast cars to see slower cars either pulling off or entering the highway thereby reducing reaction time considerably. Pedestrians and animals are rendered helpless without sidewalks or curbs.

In summarizing, there has been a record number of accidents and deaths from reckless, speeding drivers during 1985. I have a few recommendations that will need a strong effort from state government officials to enforce. I urge your cooperation and need your voice to help pass legislation that may just save someone's life (maybe your own).

The following recommendations are suggestions to help eliminate the senseless number of accidents on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu:

- Locate more California Highway Patrol cars at strategic spots to cite the speedsters and those who drive with altered mind states.

- Raise the penalties on speeders and drunk or drugged drivers, especially those with multiple offenses.

- Create an effective motorcycle division similar to the one in Santa Monica.

- Install more stop signs or traffic signals.

- Lower the speed limit to 35 miles per hour in difficult road areas and residential sections.

- Install more informative road signs.

- Build a coastal freeway inland a few miles (have it start at the Los Angeles Airport and the future Century Freeway and route it along the coastal mountains to Oxnard. To cut costs, those confined in our local correctional facilities could work this project). This freeway would handle the most concentrated number of autos in the world (well, almost) and thus relieve Pacific Coast Highway of its dense traffic and return its use as a local frontage road as it was originally intended.

Once again, I urge your support as a concerned citizen to help push legislation through to restore safety to our highway, beaches, and residential areas. Let's all slow down and live longer!

FRANK ERPELDING

Santa Monica

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