April 23, 2006
Written by C.N.
I was surprised to recently learn that apparently, in California getting caught street racing is only a misdemeanor (i.e., there’s generally only a fine associated with it). However, as the phenomenon of street racing (and the injuries and deaths because of it) continues unabated, new legislation is being proposed that would reclassify street racing as a felony:
AB 2190, by Assemblyman John Benoit, R-Palm Desert, also would set a minimum prison sentence of four to 10 years for drivers found guilty of causing someone’s death in an illegal street race. “If you’re caught street racing for the first time now, and you have an accident and cause someone to be paralyzed for life, it’s a misdemeanor,” said Benoit. . . .
Nine people have been arrested for street racing so far this year, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Fe Springs office. Last year, 7,640 California drivers were convicted on engaging in speed contests, a 9 percent jump from 2004, Department of Motor Vehicles statistics show. Street racing caused nearly 500 accidents and more than 40 deaths since 2001, according to DMV figures.
“Street racers migrate to business areas that don’t have traffic at night,” said CHP Sgt. Matt Boothe of the Santa Fe Springs office. “Younger drivers have an invincibility complex and think these things will never happen to them.”
I have written previously about my admiration for certain aspects of the import racing/sport compact/tuning scene and how its creation and rise in popularity can largely be attributed to young Asian Americans. Nonetheless, I absolutely support this proposed legislation that would reclassify street racing as a felony and stiffen the penalties against it.
I believe that there is a time and place for everything. It’s one thing to have a souped-up, highly modified car that you’re proud of. It’s another to risk the lives of innocent bystanders in a reckless show of bravado. As the article mentions, there are legal venues to show off your work of art where there is little if any risk to other people.
To use one analogy, you might be proud of your new rifle that you just got, but you don’t have to shoot your dog in order to impress your friends. In other words, with (horse)power comes responsibility.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Making Illegal Street Racing a Felony" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/04/making-illegal-street-racing-a-felony/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=239