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More states and cities ramp up efforts to curb illegal street racing

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, drivers struck and killed more than 7,500 pedestrians in 2022 — the highest number since 1981.
More states and cities ramp up efforts to curb illegal street racing
Posted at 1:29 PM, Jul 10, 2023

Cities and states across the country are starting to pass more legislation to crack down on illegal street racing.

On June 4, 18-year-old Anthony Allegrini Jr. was shot and killed by Pennsylvania State Troopers on Philadelphia's main interstate, I-95, after law enforcement responded to reports of burnouts and drag racing.

Only a few days later, on June 8, Philadelphia City Councilman Mike Driscoll introduced legislation that unanimously passed a vote to increase the fines associated with street racing crimes to $2,000, with the ability for law enforcement to seize the vehicles used.

"You know, when I was a youngster, my car was the most important personal property of my life and I think we need to get back to sending a message to these young folks that your driver's license is a privilege, not a right," said Driscoll.

The ordinance made Philadelphia the latest city to pass such legislation, as more cities and states are taking action.

SEE MORE: Drag racing rising in US amid high traffic-related deaths

In February, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched a task force to cut down on illegal street racing. A few months earlier, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did the same thing. Various cities around Colorado have also implemented new measures in 2022 to seize vehicles involved in street racing and the ordinances seem to be lowering the number of complaints filed to local police departments.

According to Denver Police Department data sent to Scripps News, there have been 160 street racing complaints made to the department since the start of the year. At this rate, the year's total would nearly match 2022's total of 318 complaints, the lowest the department has seen since 2019.

According to a report by the Associated Press, street racing exploded during the pandemic.

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In New York City, police received more than 1,000 street racing complaints during a six-month period in 2020, a 500% increase from that same time period in 2019. It was a scene that played out in cities nationwide as public unrest from lockdowns rose.

Councilman Driscoll hopes Philadelphia's newest bill has the same effect on illegal street racing in his city as it has had in others.

"It's not going to be tolerated and if you are caught you are either going to pay a $2,000 fine or we're going to seize your vehicle," he said. "We're hoping that this bill will get their attention and if we have to make an example of a few for the betterment of the many, we're going to do it."

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