L.A. Edgy Amid Highway Shootings

PasadenaTraffic: Commuter traffic on the 110 freeway, Los Angeles, California, 12-14-00 AP

A string of highway shootings since mid-March has left four people dead in Southern California and raised fears of a return to the bad old days of the 1980s, when the Los Angeles area gained a reputation for freeway gunplay.

Authorities have increased freeway patrols and considered installing recorders on roadside traffic cameras.

Five people have been shot in their cars in apparently unrelated — and definitely unsolved — attacks. In at least three cases, the shooters were in other cars.

Manny Padilla, a California Highway Patrol chief in Southern California, said the bloodshed might reflect frustration with gridlock.

"Driving behavior has changed tremendously with all the congestion here. That causes people to be extremely short-tempered and inconsiderate," he said. "The courtesy we used to extend often isn't there anymore."

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