Opinion

Letters: Drivers, not CalTrans, are to blame for most freeway crashes

Re “Poor Caltrans planning blamed for bus-truck crash that killed 13” (Page 3A, Nov. 11): During a brief freeway lane closure, a fatigued big rig driver fell asleep, and later rammed a bus doing while traveling 76 miles per hour. Although the truck driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, the National Transportation Safety Board blames CalTrans for the crash. The report states that having advanced warning devices could have alerted the bus driver about the traffic break, possibly increasing his vigilance. This may or may not be true, but it is virtually impossible to prevent irresponsible drivers from causing accidents regardless of highway design features. Lawyers go after the deep pockets of Caltrans, not drivers causing deaths and injuries. During the years I spent as a Caltrans employee involved with lane closures, I noted several ridiculous lawsuits resulting in huge settlements paid by Caltrans even when determined that any blame by Caltrans was minimal. Whether in a lane closure situation or not, it is a driver's responsibility to not crash into a stopped or stalled vehicle at 76 MPH.

Richard Quinley, Sacramento

  Comments