Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Valley Perspective

Traffic Deaths on Valley Streets

February 04, 2001

Congratulations to Times reporter Michael Krikorian for his outstanding article, "Coming Face to Face With Sudden Death Tragedy on the Streets of L.A." (Jan. 27). The sudden deaths of Judith Lopez and her 8-year-old daughter, Beatrice, and the major injuries suffered by 6-year-old daughter Jamie at Parthenia and Tampa, were truly tragic. Witnesses like Krikorian and Sylvia Vasquez usually arrive before our police officers and firefighters, and we thank them for their efforts to help the victims. Detectives are conducting a thorough follow-up investigation to determine if criminal charges will be sought against the surviving driver, who apparently suffered a seizure before the collision.

Last year, 78 people died in traffic collisions on the surface streets of the San Fernando Valley, a slight increase from the previous year. More than 450 people received major, often crippling, injuries. We are off to a very bad start in 2001: So far, we have had five fatal collisions with six deaths. Speeding in the Valley is the root cause of the vast majority of these tragedies. About two of every five reportable collisions are hit-and-run. Many involve drugs or alcohol, unlicensed drivers, unlicensed vehicles and uninsured motorists. We are seeing an increase in collisions involving senior drivers who need to seriously consider whether they ought to continue to drive. About one out of four involves a pedestrian. The pedestrian is at fault (jaywalking, walking against a red light, running suddenly into the street) about half the time. Razor scooters are an emerging traffic safety problem. Some collisions involve self-centered "me first" violators who commit acts of "road rage." A major problem is unsafe driving around our schools, especially by parents who are dropping off and picking up their children, but doing so by double- and triple-parking, or having their child run across the street. Everybody's in a hurry, dot-com.

The high numbers of these tragedies are not acceptable to the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Traffic Division, nor should they be acceptable to the public. People need to slow down and show more respect for each other as we share the roadways. Our officers are committed to reducing these incidents through a combination of safety education, strict enforcement of the traffic laws and working with engineers to improve roadways. Every driver and pedestrian needs to "get it." Voluntary compliance with the law makes for a more civil society. Each of us is either part of the problem, or a potential victim. Each of us needs to make a personal effort to drive and walk safely. If we do so, we will lessen the risks of causing or being the victim of a traffic tragedy.

CAPT. GREG MEYER

Commanding Officer

LAPD Valley Traffic Division

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|