State officials visit PCH and tout safety fixes underway on deadly stretch

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Following yet another deadly year on Pacific Coast Highway, state and local officials gathered alongside the roadway on Wednesday, May 8 to tout safety improvements being made along the stretch — and to begin a public outreach campaign preaching the need for motorists to slow down.

According to state officials, there were 220 crashes on the stretch of PCH from the Ventura County Line to the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica, killing seven people — among them four Pepperdine University students who died in October when they were struck while walking along the road. Between 2010 and 2024, 59 people have been killed along the Malibu portion of the roadway, with officials citing speed as the most common factor.

During a news conference Wednesday held at the site of a Ghost Tire Memorial — which honors those who have died in crashes on the roadway — state officials noted that infrastructure improvements are being made to bolster safety, and the California Highway Patrol has stepped up its presence to boost enforcement.

There is immediate and ongoing change that is necessary and we’re continuing to modify this section of the highway and also increase enforcement,” California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin said. “In addition to the infrastructure changes being made, we now have three full-time CHP officers and a part-time sergeant along this 21-mile corridor, leading to increased CHP citations.”

Officials noted that through April of this year, CHP officers have issued more than 1,200 citations along the stretch, more than 1,000 of which were for speeding.

  • Friends and family members gather near Pepperdine University, one month after four students were killed. Four white tires were place in a lot by the college in the memory Tuesday, Malibu CA. Nov 14, 2023.Photo by Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

  • Clockwise, from top left: Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Deslyn Williams and Asha Weir. (From Pepperdine University via CNN)

  • Friends and family members gather near Pepperdine University and sign white tires, one month after four students were killed. Four white tires were place in a lot by the collage in the memory Tuesday, Malibu CA. Nov 14, 2023. Photo by Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)

  • Reporters stand by a streetwise memorial of candles and flowers placed along along the Pacific Coast Highway, after a crash that killed four college students and injured two others, in Malibu, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. Officials say police have arrested a 22-year-old driver on suspicion of manslaughter. Sheriff’s officials say six pedestrians were struck at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday along Pacific Coast Highway, a few miles east of Pepperdine University. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

  • Sheriff’s deputies are on the scene of a crash late Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, on the 21600 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu that killed four female students from Pepperdine University. The driver suspected of causing the crash was arrested, booked and later released. (Image from Key News Network video)

    Speeding on PCH has been a long-known problem, but the issue was highlighted in October with the death of four Pepperdine students — Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams.

    The four students, who were all 20 and 21 years old, were killed on the night of Oct. 17, when a driver who was allegedly speeding west on Pacific Coast Highway slammed into several parked cars on the north shoulder of the roadway. Sheriff’s officials said those parked cars struck the four women, killing them at the scene.

    The driver, Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, has been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Bohm’s attorney has contended that Bohm was the victim of a road-rage incident on Pacific Coast Highway and was being chased when the crash occurred.

    During Wednesday’s news conference, state and local officials unveiled the “Go Safely PCH” campaign, a public-outreach effort aimed at urging motorists to slow down while driving on the dangerous stretch.

    According to the campaign’s website — gosafelypch.org — the effort is a collaboration “among local and state traffic safety stakeholders who are taking specific actions to reduce deaths and serious injuries on PCH.” The website includes a breakdown of various infrastructure efforts being made along the roadway, including speed limit markings on the road, safety corridor signs, digital “speed feedback” signs, curve warnings and pedestrian signal upgrades.

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    About the Author
    Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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