By Michael Aushenker
On New Year’s Eve 2010, a young couple was fatally injured at the intersection of Florence Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles when a drunk driver plowed into them.
The remaining wreckage – which only vaguely resembles an automobile – has served as a sober reminder in Los Angeles Police Department-staged school assemblies warning teens about the dangers of drinking and texting while driving. This year, a relative of the deceased has been part of the lecture to hit home to budding motorists that driving a car is serious business.
“We don’t get any money from the city,” said LAPD South Traffic Division Officer Kevin Scott. “We run a program every Wednesday. With an appointment, we will properly install your baby seat. (Most) seats are installed improperly.”
In replacing the worn-out, tattered car seats, LAPD, on occasion, will donate seats to lower income parents in need.
The Rollin’ South Traffic Style car show, which returns to Westchester for its third year on Saturday, June 29, will help raise funds for LAPD programs such as educational school assemblies and the car seats.
“The funds will purchase child seats, organize and deliver traffic safety education in the schools and throughout the community,” Scott said.
Safety is a priority for South Traffic Division, given the significant increase in accidents due to “distracted driving” while texting and holding a cell phone, which is against the law. Accidents from texting and cell phone use while driving are particularly vexing to law enforcement officials, who believe such crashes can easily be avoided by focused driving.
“All you need is a Bluetooth,” Scott said. “The majority of new cars have Bluetooth still in the car and all you need to do is push a button,” Scott said, reflecting on the up-tick in crashes as a result of these 21st century ways to distract one’s self. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, up from 3,267 in 2010. An additional 387,000 people were injured in said crashes.
Nearly 20 percent of crashes reported in 2010 were designated distraction accidents, and 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes fall into distracted driver accident categories. On its website, the traffic safety administration adds that texting while driving is roughly six times more likely to invite accidents than driving while intoxicated.
Participants who want to enter their cars and motorcycles in the Rollin’ South Traffic Style show are welcome. Vehicles will be judged and winners are awarded trophies. All paid vehicle entries receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag.
“If you’re a car enthusiast,” said Scott, “you’ll find 26 different categories of entries, from very old to very new, exotic, foreign – it runs the gamut. We also have a motorcycle run.”
There will also be live music and a DJ, games, prizes, foods and drinks. More than 300 cars are expected to take part, and the event will include 18-wheelers, nostalgic police cars and a motorcycle show.
“Those guys put 150K on those things, they’re houses on wheels,” Scott said, musing over the tricked-out big rig cabs.
Last year, the LAPD Bomb Squad came out to the show (for fun, not on a call). This year, Scott promises a police chopper, which will land on the event’s premises June 28 in anticipation of the June 29 event.
Rollin’ South Traffic Style will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission; $30 early registration; $35 on the day of the event to enter a vehicle in the show. The car show takes place in the parking lot of the Manchester Academy, 5651 W. Manchester Ave. in Westchester. Information, LAPD South Traffic Division at (323) 421-2588, or Stac-Std.com.
A show for safety’s sake Third annual LAPD Car Show to raise money for educational programming, car seats
By Michael Aushenker