Tesla distraction article in poor taste, readers say

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Your article about, Hencke appears biased. Do you not know a Tesla driver killed Josh Alper on Hwy 1? Or are you trying to make the accident okay? The facts: The Tesla did not kill Alper. The driver killed Alper. Do your research. I find it amazing you get paid to inform us. Larry Miller, via email A: Street Smarts received a few comments from readers questioning the timing of Monday's Street Smarts column. It was not meant to be offensive; rather, it aimed to express the driver's concerns about being a distracted driver due to the car's high tech offerings. The writer himself cut off another road user while distracted by the bells and whistles on the car. Considering it was thought that the driver in the incident was thought to have been driving while distracted before it was determined he had fallen asleep, the article was timely. While it may have sounded like a commercial for the car, it's difficult to list the ways the car is distracting without listing the features that are causing the driver to lose focus on the road. When I bought by car -- not a Tesla -- in 2011, and it began ringing while I was driving on the freeway, I was distracted. Yes, I was shown all its features but when the ringing began, my focus shifted from the road to where the noise was coming from, how to answer it, and, oh, what were the people and cars outside my high tech fiberglass bubble doing while I figured it all out. As the vehicles we drive become more and more flashy tech savvy, and people keep killing other people because of distraction -- techy and non-techy -- this is a safety topic that always is timely. Meanwhile, learn more about drowsy driving at http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/Drowsy.html. Highway 17 lane closures this weekend The retaining wall project on Highway 17 near Scotts Valley just north of Glenwood Drive is going to require lane closures from Saturday, Nov. 16 through Tuesday, Nov. 19. During this weekend's project, the slow lane will be closed in the northbound direction from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday for temporary guardrail removal. Then one lane in that direction will be closed from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Monday. And from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, the slow lane will be closed for paving. For southbound traffic, expect one lane to be closed from 7 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Monday. The closure will require northbound motorists to use the fast lane in the southbound direction. One lane of the freeway will remain open at all times. Electronic message boards already are warning motorists about the planned closure. The freeway service patrol and the CHP will be on hand to help with traffic control. Expect delays of up to 30-minutes. The entire project is to wrap up in the spring of 2015. Contractor Condon-Johnsons and Associates, Inc. of Oakland is being paid $2.8 million to do the work. Motorists are reminded to move over and slow down when traveling through their construction areas. Stay on top of all Caltrans District 5 projects in Santa Cruz County by visiting www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/projects/ or calling 423-0396. Statewide traffic updates are available by calling (800) 427-7623.
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