Jim Smith: The peril and noise of Santa Clarita

A young man crosses the street as traffic moves through the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road in November. Katharine Lotze/Signal

I have never written to the editor of a newspaper before, but as a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1973, I’ve seen many positive changes, and unfortunately, a few negative changes that I thought were worth mentioning.

The other day my wife and I were walking in Santa Clarita and started to cross Lyons Avenue after waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green. We were almost run over by a car turning right on the red light into the crosswalk.

We couldn’t see the person driving because his side windows and windshield were darkly tinted. I can only assume that he only looked left to see if he/she was clear to turn and did not bother to look right to see us in the crosswalk.

We couldn’t make eye contact with the driver because the windows were so dark. I had to hit the hood of the car to get the driver’s attention or he would have easily run us over. It was a very close call.

This near miss made me wonder if the law about tinted windshields has changed from the time when it was illegal. Since that incident, I’ve noticed that there are many cars with darkly tinted windows.

How does law enforcement know who’s in the driver’s seat when approaching a vehicle for traffic violations? How does law enforcement enforce carpool lanes with windows tinted so darkly that the number of occupants in the vehicle can’t be determined?

I also began to wonder about the number of cars and trucks with modified exhaust systems that are much louder than when the car is originally sold off the lot.

You can hear them accelerating blocks from where you’re standing, or from your home if you’re unfortunate enough to live near where the car is garaged. Is this legal?

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic for the days when we all moved to Santa Clarita to get away from these problems in a more family oriented community.

Maybe law enforcement is so busy it no longer has time to enforce these laws. I don’t have the answer. Let’s see what the new year brings.

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