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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Action Instead of Tears Over Highway Deaths

August 09, 2004

Re "The Road They All Dread," Aug. 4: Too bad about Hope Johnson and all those other poor souls killed and maimed on Highway 395. But it isn't Ridgecrest that needs a wake-up call but rather the DMV and our state legislators who turn a blind eye to motorists who break California's motor vehicle laws. We have three strikes for criminal offenders; why not similar penalties for motorists?

Instead of folksy tear-jerkers, roadside shrines and wider roads, which simply encourage more traffic and clowns with fast cars and too much testosterone, efforts should be made to increase the penalties for traffic violations. Seizing vehicles of offending motorists is a good place to start.

Martin Mutsch

Seal Beach

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The problem so graphically symbolized by the parade of death on Highway 395 can be seen in lesser forms nearly everywhere else in California. Failure to realistically plan for development is, quite simply, ruining the state. I was born in the 1970s, but even I can remember hitting the open road and escaping into the relative emptiness that surrounded Los Angeles. Now, my life practically revolves around considerations of how much time will be wasted parked on the freeway.

Forty years from now, people in previously sleepy towns are going to be wondering why nobody thought to build more freeways while there was space to build them. And still developers assure us with their "studies" that there are enough roads to support even more cookie-cutter homes out in the desert.

David M. Marquez

Los Angeles

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