LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Lawmakers are doubling down to tackle street racing and sideshows in Southern California.
Building on last year's bipartisan legislation and funding efforts, State Sen. Henry Stern announced another bill to crack down on illegal street racing and sideshows that would augment funding for law enforcement and make penalties more severe.
"The reckless speeding and sideshows and street races, the use of cars as weapons, are not victimless crimes. And they're certainly not a game or a vanity project or something to put on your TikTok or your Instagram and be proud of," Stern said at a news conference in Woodland Hills. "And if that's your attitude and that's the way you're going to go about your lives in Los Angeles, and recklessly use your car as a weapon, then we're coming for you."
Speeding and reports of street racing went up during the pandemic, particularly during safer-at-home orders. Sideshows, which are often announced on social media, are coordinated takeovers of intersections and occasionally freeways that draw large crowds of pedestrians in lanes of traffic.
The bill would increase penalties, funnel more funding to the CHP from the recently announced Federal Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program, increase the amount of time a vehicle can be impounded, and in the most severe cases, seize and demolish vehicles.
Earlier this week, the LA City Council approved an allocation of $100,000 to pay police overtime to crack down on street racing in the San Fernando Valley. Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol received an $800,000 grant last year from the state's Office of Traffic Safety to crack down on racing and sideshows.
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