Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Wolk wants harsh fines on Highway 12

Excerpted from Daily Republic (Subscription required)
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By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Assemblywoman Lois Wolk is supporting legislation to have Highway 12 declared a double-fine zone for speeding, reckless driving, drunken driving and other offenses.

The bill targets Highway 12 from Interstate 80 in Fairfield to Interstate 5 in San Joaquin County. Solano Transportation Authority officials have also talked of trying to get a double-fine zone established.

Local Highway 12 had three head-on collisions in 2006 that killed four people, including two children from Suisun City. Wolk, the STA and local law enforcement agencies have been seeking short-term answers.

"Those double-fine zones are intended to deter the reckless, unsafe driving that has claimed too many lives on what has come to be known as 'Blood Alley,' " Wolk said Monday.

But it's hardly a sure thing that the law will pass. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed some double-fine zone bills for other state roads.

"Caltrans suggested that if any future double-fine zones are to be effective, they must be established concurrently with enhanced enforcement, public awareness campaigns and other traffic safety measures," Schwarzenegger wrote in one veto message.

A double-fine zone is one piece of the puzzle, Wolk said.

"This is not a magic bullet," she said. "We do need strong enforcement, strong education."

The STA board on Wednesday plans to talk about Highway 12 safety, including seeking a state grant to pay for more law enforcement. It meets at 6 p.m. at the Suisun City Hall, 701 Civic Center Blvd.

Wolk is also sponsoring legislation to have a stretch of Highway 12 between Highway 113 and Olsen Road named in honor of the late David Lamoree. The Rio Vista police officer died in an Oct. 21, 2005, head-on collision on his 26th birthday. He was not at fault.

"It's being done to honor him and his memory," Wolk said. "But it would also add to the recognition that this is a stretch of road that is unsafe and people should be very careful."

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