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Drivers to Blame in Recent Angeles Crest Highway Deaths, According to CHP

Angeles Crest Highway (Photo by Matt McGrath Photo via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
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It didn't take long after the Angeles Crest Highway reopened in June for not two, not three but four drivers to lose their lives on the road.

After the third death, Caltrans launched an investigation into those deaths to assess whether signage, traffic enforcement and traffic volume could have played a role in those fatal crashes.

The agency found that it is the drivers — and not the road — that are dangerous, according to The Burbank Leader.

All of the recent fatal incidents on the Angeles Crest Highway have been attributed to driver error, including driving under the influence and speeding, according to Officer Ming Hsu of the CHP.

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I’m sure you could find a lot of commuters going across the mountain to the high desert and they’ll tell you they drive it every day and there’s crazy driving out there. There’s hundreds of vehicles going across that road with no problem, it’s these drivers that are careless getting into collisions.

The first fatality in June is a possible suicide — the driver reportedly took a left at a straightaway that plunged his sedan 600 feet over the mountainside.

The second fatality that same day involved a drunk driver who crashed into a tree, after losing control of his car.

The third fatality involved a speeding motorcyclist, who missed a curve and went over the edge.

The cause of the fourth fatal accident this weekend was unknown. Speeding or drugs and alcohol were ruled out, but investigators have speculated that the driver may have not been paying attention when he missed a curve in the road and hit the mountainside.

Caltrans notes that they have made improvements to the highway, such as raising berms and installing railing along most of the mountainside, in an effort to keep cars on the road.

The road is safe, authorities say, drivers just have to be more cautious.

“People just have to respect the mountain, respect the curves," Hsu said. "And they’re not doing that.”