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Statement of City Attorney on NTSB Findings

The following statement was received by The Lookout from Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Moutrie regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) report on the July 16, 2003 farmer's market accident.

August 4 -- We agree with the NTSB conclusion that the driver caused this tragic event.

As to the recommendations related to Santa Monica, we are weighing whether to seek reconsideration. The report appears to include significant inconsistencies and speculation.

The NTSB recommended a different type of barricade (called a Class 3 barricade) from that used without incident by the city for 22 years and yet concluded that their recommended barricade would not have prevented the tragedy.

Also, the federal and local standards they refer to apply at the moment only to road work, not to community events. Indeed, the street closure procedures Santa Monica used are commonly used by cities across the country. Rigid barriers suggested by the NTSB for the future cannot be readily removed for emergency access, nor have they been tested to prove that they work to stop moving vehicles.

We do agree with the NTSB that guidelines for street events should be clarified and made more accessible to cities nationwide, and we hope to participate in that effort. Our goal is to protect cities' ability to continue enriching community life with street events, including fairs and markets, parades, block parties and charitable events while at the same time protecting the safety of those involved.
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