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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Elderly Drivers Fail To Follow Simple, Common Sense Laws: Letter To The Editor

Posted Sep. 20, 2012, 6:04 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor:

Please explain to me how residents are allowed to pass the driver’s education test and be given a driver’s license without knowing and following the simple and often common sense laws that are required knowledge?

Having been a Santa Monica resident for many, many years, it seems as if we are all just accustomed to drivers blatantly and often dangerously disregarding the laws designed to protect themselves and others.

I wish these law-breakers could be blamed merely on tourists, but such is not the case. Santa Monica has numerous intersections that are dangerous, making the safety laws essential for survival.

One such intersection and cause for this letter is at the crossroad of San Vicente and Ocean Blvds. Stop signs are posted at all intersections, requiring cars to not only come to a complete stop, but also be fully cognizant of not only other drivers, but bikers and pedestrians utilizing the cross-walks.

The California law states that drivers are to yield to pedestrians in cross-walks. Yield and wait until that pedestrian is no longer utilizing the cross-walk before proceeding.

Nowhere does the law state that a driver can swerve around a pedestrian, intimidate a pedestrian nor honk at a pedestrian if the driver deems the pedestrian is walking too slowly. “Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.”

Those laws being understood, flash back to yesterday, the 19th of September, 2012, 6:50pm, a beautiful evening for a first time mother of a newborn to finally leave the confines of her home for a slow stroll on the promenade.

She has taken the painstaking time to strap her newborn to her chest, covering the baby’s head to avoid any undue natural stresses, i.e. sun, wind or dust, ensuring the utmost safety of her precious cargo.

She strolls on the promenade, enjoying the slight ocean breeze, but soon realizes the weight of the baby is too much for her thrice-operated on back and makes the decision to slowly, safely make her way home.

She gets to the intersection of San Vicente and Ocean Blvds, looks both ways, making eye contact with the CA-plated, Silver Lexus that has stopped on Ocean to let her and her baby utilize the cross-walk onto San Vicente.

Four steps into the cross-walk, the older, grey-haired driver of the newer model Lexus must make the ill-timed decision that this tired, slightly pained new mother is moving too slowly for him and his older female passenger, and lays on his horn, motioning for this new mother to “hurry up.”

The new mother is startled and takes several steps backwards, seemingly infuriating this driver even more, as he attempts to swerve around her, pushing his bumper into the leg of this frightened pedestrian.

He comes to a stop, assuming realizing his fault in endangering not only this new mother, but also the life of her tiny newborn.

The new mother, regaining her senses, but in tears, goes to the window of the passenger, asking why they would choose to endanger lives so blatantly.

The passenger inside the Lexus, an older woman with a seemingly red birthmark on her right cheek, sneers at this new mother, telling her “you are moving too slowly” and “to get out of their way.”

The already angry older driver then speeds past this crying, frightened mother, down the hill on Ocean towards the Palisades.

The new mother safely makes it to the curb, looking after this car that has sped away as other drivers stop to offer aid and ask if she is alright.

She does not have the opportunity to get the license of this law-breaker who has attempted vehicular manslaughter. Their time was more important than the safety and lives of others.

A hopeful lesson in driver safety, and wishful accountability for a reckless, heartless driver.

Kimberly Kathleen

Santa Monica

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Comments

Sep. 20, 2012, 9:35:06 am

amanda w said...

Maybe she was just a b*tch and it had nothing to do with her age, believe plenty young people behave the same. Last time I checked the DMV doesnt require the "Are you a giant assh*le?" test, so much for blaming them, EVERYONE drives the way you are SUPPOSED to when you take the test.

Sep. 20, 2012, 10:11:07 am

Manny Angelo said...

First off, I am glad that you and your infant survived this terrible ordeal. I can only hope that the jerk who perpetrated this dastardly act is captured and charged. Your letter misstates the requirementsa of the Vehicle Code. Operators of motor vehicles are required to yield right of way to pedestrians who are lawfully in a crosswalk. Operators are permitted to enter an intersection when the pedestrian has cleared their lane of travel, in other words, once they may enter behind the pedestrian. There is no requirement to wait while the pedestrian reaches the opposite curb. Safety is the overarching consideration. Secondly, the pedestrian must be LAWFULLY in the crosswalk. That means that the pedestrian must obey all traffic controls, including stop signs. The pedestrian must yield to traffic already in the intersection. Finally, the age of the operator, in this instance, is immaterial. He acted the way he did because he was a criminal, not because he was a senior citizen. Again, I am happy that you and the little one are safe, but your safety will be enhanced if you rid yourself of some common misconceptions of the rights and duties of pedestrians

Sep. 20, 2012, 12:55:34 pm

J.B. Honeycutt said...

I'm glad Ms. Kathleen has brought this issue to attention, however it's not just older drivers who do things like this. I have a neuromuscular disorder and no working car at the moment, and I frequently utilize pedestrian byways to get around. I do not jaywalk and always cross at signals and marked cross walks. The vast majority of drivers in this city do not look for pedestrians who have the walk signal before making a right hand turn. There is a crosswalk a few hundred feet to the left of me that people routinely ignore. They don't even bother to slow if they see someone starting to cross. And there is one a few hundred feet to the right of me with a stop sign that people routinely run as well. I am not talking about rolling stops. They run it. And those are the people in cars. The cyclists aren't any better. I don't mind people riding on the sidewalk but on multiple occasions I've nearly been hit by cyclists riding on the sidewalk at unsafe speeds, who don't slow down to pass, but rather feel yelling something that is often unintelligible or inaudible is sufficient to warn the person they are coming up on. They don't realize that I can't always hear them from behind...in fact I usually can't and they take me completely by surprise, or I can't hear what they are saying and in turning I could accidentally step to the side they have decided to pass me on. I've also almost been hit by cyclists who run red lights at T intersections with crosswalks. I agree cars and cyclists should share the road, but being on a bicycle does not mean you can run a red light., even at a T intersection. If this city needs more money they should start writing more tickets for actual traffic violations.

Sep. 20, 2012, 4:06:04 pm

Martin Miller said...

Clearly, this was a violation by the elderly driver. But Santa Monica has many inept, rude, and oblivious drivers, especially north of Wilshire. Not just the elderly. I live near the Co-op Health food store just above Broadway.. Driving up to San Vicente and 4th to pick up or see my daughter is like running a gauntlet of bad drivers. And not just at stop signs, were SMPD is happy is give tickets for minor roll-throughs. Santa Monica drivers suck...

Sep. 20, 2012, 9:01:40 pm

Speed Racer said...

Seems as you the writer have a favorite crosswalk. The problem is the little one out in the road all the time, and the long line of drivers patiently waiting all the time. I thought roads were for cars, if you have to cross, stop grandstanding and cross. Mommy, or Granny. I'm disabled with a cane and am smart enough to move it, or just simply wait a moment for the cars to pass. It's a lot easier and safer than being stupid enough to walk into a roadway with a selfish bad attitude. The crosswalk should not be in that difficult place where distances, oh and and slow grandstanding walkers are a problem. Remove the crosswalk and let traffic flow free. Teach people and bikers to get out of the roads. The Cars will kill you no matter how dumb or what bad attitude you have. The Stop signs don't help, they're too many and all the SM drivers roll through them dangerously. Besides SM traffic oppression just creates the traffic and smog that's killing the environment. Enjoy the Bluffs, although yours seems like some hot air. A short while back a girl at Cliffwood was unfortunately killed. Mom walked her into her death and now keeps a pile of rubish at the corner as a memorial to her stupidity. Teach the kids to look both ways!!! Nope… that's too smart. They're talking abbot relocating all the bus stops back. Very very stupid, roads are for cars!!! Besides, the bus was on the other side no matter where the bus stop goes. I'd like to see the roadside garbage banned, and use intelligence instead. That Mommy really needs some real help, it was her mistake twice!!! Roads are dangerous; look both ways absolutely every time. And if you're s mom and assume responsibility for her, be responsible. That poor driver didn't just appear. GET THE PEOPLE

Sep. 21, 2012, 4:52:35 pm

J.B. Honeycutt said...

Speed Racer: Roads might be for cars but crosswalks are for people to cross and road rules are for drivers to follow. A person who cannot respect the rules of the road or the safety of others, should not be driving.

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