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CHP increases patrols on Pacific Coast Highway with eye on increased safety

CHP increases patrols on Pacific Coast Highway with heightened focus on safety
CHP increases patrols on Pacific Coast Highway with heightened focus on safety 02:06

After the tragic death of four Pepperdine students in late October, calls for safety along the Pacific Coast Highway have reached new levels, prompting the CHP to increase their patrols along the highly dangerous stretch of road.

ghost tires for fallen Pepperdine students.
Malibu, CA, Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - A traffic safety group, Streets Are For Everyone hosts a ``Ghost Tire Memorial'' placement in memory of the victims of a reckless driver who killed four Pepperdine students. Parents, friends and classmates attend the ceremony, adding written thoughts to the tires, placed alongside Pacific Coast Highway. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Robert Gauthier

While the gorgeous route is known for its scenic beauty as drivers pass along the California coast, PCH has gotten increasingly dangerous over time, as traffic seems to be flying by the beauty at growing speeds. 

Malibu city officials say that there have been more than 4,000 traffic collisions on the 21-mile stretch that runs through their city in just the last decade, with more than 100,000 traffic citations issued in the same time span. 

Locals have called for measures to stop the speeding over the years, but the tragic crash that took the lives of four Pepperdine University students has again pushed the issue to the top of mind for city leaders. 

"It just brought the attention all the way to the top," said Susan Dueñas, the Public Safety Director for the city of Malibu. "It's unfortunate that it takes something really tragic like that to make it happen."

The decision marks the first time since 1991, when Malibu became an incorporated city, that CHP officers will be regularly patrolling PCH. 

"We've had officer out there, some have unfortunately really good success with writing tickets," said CHP Officer Casey Ramstead. "Lot of people treating it as a speedway. I know one of our officers gave over 20 tickets in one shift."

Related: Two crashes on PCH early Friday prompt more safety concerns from residents

Grieving filmmaker creates documentary to raise awareness of the dangers on the PCH 07:31

She says that the CHP's increased patrols, which are being implemented to help Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies who already enforce traffic rules int he area, are just part of a series of plans being put into motion. 

Next week, work on a new series of traffic signals gets underway, which will allow Caltrans the ability to control signals in real time, helping to lower traffic speeds and reduce the congestion. 

In January, a task force entirely devoted to patrolling PCH will being working seven days a week. 

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