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Editorial:

It’s time for speeders to slow down

May 17, 2008

The time to crack down on speeders in Glendale and Burbank is long overdue.

Many have rightly asked how many must be injured or killed before we find a way to stop the reckless driving we see on our streets every day.

A bill that Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is proposing may not stop the fatal phenomenon, but it is a step in the right direction.

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Krekorian’s legislation would double the penalty points for drivers who are caught going more than 26 mph over the posted speed limit, putting these reckless drivers on a faster track to a suspended license.

Frankly, a suspended license would be getting off easy for those whose apparent inability to slow down on local streets puts themselves, pedestrians and other drivers at risk. But it may be enough to save some lives.

Those drivers need to be off streets like Glenoaks Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, where tragedies are waiting to happen — and have happened.

Unfortunately, the bill comes too late for 24-year-old Elizabeth Sandoval, who was killed in July while crossing Glendale Avenue when 20-year-old Ara Grigoryan struck her at almost twice the legal speed limit, or 18-year-old Burbank resident Oscar Torres, who died in November 2005 after Andranik Atshemyan, 25, slammed his Land Rover into the teen’s parked car after losing control of his speeding SUV on Columbus Avenue.

Grigoryan’s and Atshemyan’s driving records included several tickets, which, under Krekorian’s law, would have made them eligible for penalty points — the kind of points that would have gotten them a suspended license, perhaps quick enough to save two lives.

Unfortunately, we can’t turn back time.

But we can urge legislators and the governor to support this bill, as the Glendale City Council did on Tuesday.

With their support, this city is acknowledging that the area has a serious problem with perpetual speeders that must be addressed.

The numbers bear that danger out.

Glendale has the second-worst pedestrian-related accident rate among 51 California cities of similar size, according to a report last year.

And it’s not like the city isn’t trying to make local streets safer.

At some point, the state’s laws must be tough enough to make speeders think twice about pushing down on that accelerator.


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