Wrong-way driver dies after slamming into big-rig on Highway 101

May 3, 2017

An elderly Santa Maria man driving the wrong way on Highway 101 crashed head-on into a semi-truck Tuesday night near Los Alamos. The crashed killed the wrong-way driver and sent his van tumbling into the highway median.

At approximately 9 p.m., the wrong way driver was traveling in the fast lane when he came upon two semi-trucks that were driving side by side.  A semi-truck driven by a 66-year-old Templeton man collided with the van.

A third vehicle then crashed into the semi-truck. Both the semi-truck and third vehicle drivers suffered minor injuries.

About 40 to 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the semi-truck onto the highway.

It is unclear why the Santa Maria man was driving the wrong direction. There has been no mention of whether drugs or alcohol are suspected as factors.

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I am not sure I would classify a 66-year old as “elderly” today… Decades ago, perhaps, but the “doddering old man” bit often does not set in until the 70’s or beyond now-a-days.

If you have a ‘medical event’ because you’re old, does that then make it ok?

There needs to be an age starting YEARLY driving competence testing, maybe age 72. I am 64 and can see the need as it is senseless putting others at risk when driving skills deteriorate enough for this type of accident to happen. My kids know they can tell me when its time to stop driving as I would hate to be the one to kill a young parent of a family.

We can start by agreeing that a drivers license is a privilege and not a right.

I wouId rather make it a right. If it were, then people wouldn’t be so complacent. They might stop worrying about how their car looks and start to install solid, hydraulic bumpers all the way around their car. They would drive defensively and *always* pay attention. And even more importantly they would consider taking alternate transportation like well protected busses and trains. And since everyone has to pay for roads, is it really fair to tell some people that they can’t use them, while still using their share of tax dollars for those roads instead of building alternate forms of transportation that they can use? I find it funny how some drivers are self righteous about the actions of other drivers, like people with DUIs (note: I have never had a DUI) or suspended licenses or whatever, while they are simultaneously encouraging government to reach into those people’s wallets in order to benefit themselves.

If a private company wants to build roads and put restrictions on who can drive on them, then so be it. But public money needs to be used for the public good, not to continuously benefit those who have established their privilege because they follow rules which generally favor them.

Sometimes focusing on safety just completely backfires. Government regulation distorts market forces and interferes with truly rational thought. It also seeks to average out the extremes, which is not necessarily a good thing,