Street Racing and so-called “sideshows” have become synonymous throughout our area in the past four years and the problem is getting worse. These issues have impacted countless residents and California lawmakers have taken action aimed at stopping the problem. California Assembly Bill 3 (AB 3) addresses illegal street racing and “sideshow” events.
AB 3 increases penalties for violations related to illegal street racing or “takeovers.” The bill clearly defines an illegal street racing sideshow event and codifies the definition into state law. Under current law, anyone engaging in or working as an accessory to illegal street racing can be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days as well as a fine of up to $500. AB 3 would allow the court to impose these penalties as well as suspending the violator’s driver’s license for between 90 days and six months. The license suspension could also include restricting the operation of a motor vehicle for the purposes of one’s employment as long as the court takes into consideration the family of the violator and personal hardships.
AB 3 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2021 and took effect on January 1, 2022. The enforcement of the increased penalties for illegal street racing will not commence until July 1, 2025. Illegal street racing events have caused countless preventable injuries and fatalities in recent years. Street racing incidents have been on the rise since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
A California Highway Patrol (CHP) official was quoted saying street racing and takeovers have become a huge problem statewide. “We are currently deploying additional officers to combat these street racing issues and we are now utilizing our Street Racing Task Force as well as our surrounding law enforcement agencies,” the CHP official added. Assemblyman and AB 3 author Vince Fong said “There’s not a weekend that goes by where there’s not street racing.” “Illegal sideshows are devastating families and claiming innocent lives in communities throughout the state of California. They are creating serious risk for our youth.”
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