Letters to the Editor

Letters: Who’s to blame for freeway crashes + Ways to avoid paying the gasoline tax

Drivers beware

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 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, I noted several ridiculous lawsuits resulting in huge settlements paid by Caltrans even when Caltrans’ blame was minimal. It is a driver's responsibility to not crash into a stopped or stalled vehicle at 76 mph.

Richard Quinley, Sacramento

Save gasoline

Re “Gas taxes just increased. Now Caltrans needs to prove we’re not wasting our money” (Editorials, Nov. 1): Depending on mileage driven, the new gas tax can be offset and more by reducing idling when parked. Many of us warm up our vehicles for too long. Avoid idling when parked. And avoid drive-thrus. A vehicle idling when parked for 15 minutes a day will cost around $60-200 a year depending on engine size. Reducing idling also improves air quality, reduces CO2 emissions and conserves energy.

Wayne Michaud, Citrus Heights

Gas tax will hurt

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board comedians love to tease. They tell us that the 12 cent a gallon gas tax will be a “blip” for most, maybe the cost of a beer a month if you fill up 20 gallons. Is that 20 gallons a month to go to work, school, medical appointments, welfare office, church or to the local saloon to get that beer? My 2009 VW Rabbit uses more than 20 gallons a month and I walk more than I drive.

Leslie McNeill, Roseville


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