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Fed Up With Roaring Engines And Drag Racing On NYC Streets, 3 Lawmakers Propose Stiffer Punishments For Offenders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Over the last year, there've been nearly 3,000 drag racing complaint calls made to 311.

That's five times the number of calls made the year before.

Some local leaders have introduced new legislation to bring an end to the illegal activity.

As CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports, in Inwood, the sights and sounds of summer include cars with modified engines and exhaust systems, spinning out and racing on the city streets.

"I'm just tired of the noise," said Inwood resident Carmen Ramirez.

Ramirez says the noise nuisance has taken a toll on her health, and many of her neighbors.

"It adds to the stress level," she said. "I live on a one-way street, but they do rev their cars up that street, and every time they do that, it sets off car alarms that are parked."

Watch Hazel Sanchez's report --

"Just the sounds. Just that heightened fear and anxiety when you hear high-pitched noises or what have you," said Inwood resident Lorial Crowder.

Crowder lives along Broadway in Inwood, a popular racing strip when the sun goes down. It's where three New York senators met to announce proposed legislation to end illegal street racing and the noise pollution that comes with it.

"Noise and speeding is a huge problem," said St. Sen. Robert Jackson.

St. Sen. Brad Hoylman is introducing the "Fighting Urban Racing In Our Streets Act," or the FURIOUS Act, that would allow city speed cameras to operate 24 hours, every day.

"They're turned off on nights and weekends... which is when the racing occurs, so there's no tools to catch these speed racers when they are actually happening," Hoylman said.

St. Sen. Andrew Gounardes is proposing the "Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution" Act, or SLEEP Act. That would increase the fines for illegally modified mufflers and exhaust systems from $150 to $1,000.

"It will also set clear decibel limits in the law as to what is or is not permissible," Gounardes said.

"Are you optimistic this is going to help?" Sanchez asked.

"I hope so," Ramirez said.

The senators hope the SLEEP and FURIOUS acts will go up for a vote and pass before the end of the June session, before peak summer racing time.

Residents in Queens are dealing with similar struggles.

They told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis when the clock strikes midnight, 1 a.m., 2 a.m. -- that's when the music starts.

"It's a quality-of-life issue," said Maria Asaro, a community partner for the 106th Precinct.

She is essentially a liaison in frequent communication with the NYPD to try to tackle this issue.

"Oh, anytime there's nice weather, we know we're gonna get a concert that evening," she said.

PJ Marcel has been capturing videos of cars blasting music around Howard Beach.

He started a petition to raise awareness to problems like one he saw in the Linden Center parking lot.

"Had a congregation of almost 100 individuals blasting music as well as car revving," he said.

"They're fed up. People are actually selling their homes because of it, and that's not something we want to see happen," said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association.

The 104th Precinct posted to Facebook it confiscated illegal sound devices in Maspeth on Sunday and issued four summonses.

Queens residents pray for a continued crackdown citywide.

Marcel says he's worried "it's going to lead to more laws being broken. Drag racing, music competitions, what's next?"

Neighbors in Howard Beach say when the cops show up, the crowds disperse, so they're hoping for more overnight patrolling, especially before the anticipated spike with the summer.

CBS2's Hazel Sanchez contributed to this report.

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