clearn.png
Thursday October 28th, 2021 3:24AM

Kemp backs efforts to crack down on illegal street racing

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's governor is throwing his support behind efforts to curb street racing and stunt driving, saying heavier penalties are needed to crack down on the illegal activities.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday announced his support for House Bill 534, one of several proposals already pending in the General Assembly to combat a problem that Atlanta-area police agencies say had spiked in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when traffic thinned on roads.

“Our streets and highways and parking lots have become free-for-all speedways for criminals," Kemp said

The Kemp-backed proposal, sponsored by Republican Rep. Josh Bonner of Peachtree City, creates new crimes for promoting drag racing and reckless stunt driving, in addition to the current crimes of drag racing or laying drags. The latter is a crime that is applicable when people are not racing on public roadways but driving in donuts or showing off, possibly on private property. Reckless stunt driving would be when someone lays drag “in reckless disregard for the safety of persons on a highway or upon private property.”

Both new crimes would be high and aggravated misdemeanors, a class of misdemeanors which features higher finds and possible jail time.

People who are convicted of stunt driving could lose their driver's license for at least a year, with penalties rising for second convictions. A third conviction would be a felony and also could lead someone to forfeit their vehicle.

“We will hold those who promote these activities accountable, and keep our streets safe by modernizing our code to include these popular activities that put Georgians in harm's way,” said Kemp, who said he had met with Fulton County police chiefs at the governor's mansion to discuss the issue.

Sen. Emanuel Jones, a Decatur Democrat, is already sponsoring another bill to fight street racing. Senate Bill 10 is named for Jaye Mize, a DeKalb County woman who died in a collision with a street racer in Decatur. He attended Kemp's news conference Friday and said the governor had pledged to work with him. Jones said he hoped to combine the approaches of the two bills.

“Any time a governor gets behind a proposal, it really raises the profile and it also encourages more members in the General Assembly to work with us,” Jones said.

Jones’ bill would raise fines. It also seeks to make street racing more costly for drivers by increasing the amount of penalty points that could be assessed against a driver’s license. Any adult 21 or older who gets more than 15 points assessed on their license in two years has it suspended, and Jones’ bill would assess 8 points for one instance of laying drag.

Jones also wants a special license plate for cars that have engines of 650 horsepower or more, aimed at people who buy fast cars for speed racing, allowing that class of cars to be forfeited. Jones, who owns a Ford dealership in McDonough, sells some versions of the Ford Mustang that would need the special plate

“That car, really in my opinion, is not street legal,” Jones said.

Some groups are opposing any bills, though, saying they oppose increased criminal penalties, that forfeiture is too much, and that Jones' bill could lead to the arrest of innocent bystanders because it makes it a misdemeanor to “knowingly” attend a drag race.

“We believe there is still a constitutional concern with respect to the excessiveness, as well as potentially equal protection,” said Mazie Lynn Causey of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a recent appearance before a Senate committee. Causey said it was unfair to seize cars and single out a particular class of cars.

___

Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Southern cities hit hard by storms face new crisis: No water
Southern U.S. cities slammed by winter storms that left millions without power for days have traded one crisis for another
6:14PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Will voters remember? Cruz trip tests durability of scandal
Ted Cruz has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies and fiercest critics, personifying both sides of the bind the larger Republican Party now finds itself in
6:06PM ( 13 minutes ago )
'Kimye' is no more: Kardashian files to divorce West
Kim Kardashian West has filed for divorce from Kanye West after 6 1/2 years of marriage
6:04PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden defends progress on COVID as weather delays 6M shots
President Joe Biden has toured a state-of-the art coronavirus vaccine plant
5:20PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Biden declares 'America is back' in welcome words to allies
President Joe Biden has used his first address before a global audience to declare “America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back."
4:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
Back in Paris pact, US faces tougher climate steps ahead
The United States has returned to the Paris climate accord
4:17PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
GOP source: Priebus mulling run for Wisconsin governor
Reince Priebus, a former White House chief of staff to Donald Trump, has called Republican donors and power brokers in Wisconsin to discuss a possible bid for governor or the U.S. Senate
1:05PM ( 5 hours ago )
Toomey, who once unified the GOP, now on the outs over Trump
Before he became the object of fury of Republicans for voting to convict Donald Trump during the former president’s second impeachment trial, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was once the insurgent from the right
11:49AM ( 6 hours ago )
South Carolina's abortion law challenged in court on 2nd day
South Carolina's new law banning most abortions is being challenged in court on its second day in effect
11:20AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Inside the All-Star voting numbers: The NBA is a tough crowd
NBA players are apparently not easily impressed — even by other NBA players
3:01AM ( 15 hours ago )
Column: NBA makes the wrong call on All-Star Game
The NBA had done a lot of things right during the pandemic
2:56AM ( 15 hours ago )
No. 7 Virginia visits Duke in season's lone ACC meeting
Seventh-ranked Virginia looks to rebound from a lopsided loss at No. 16 Florida State and maintain its winning percentage likely to determine conference tournament seeding when it takes on Duke on Saturday
2:54AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Southern cities hit hard by storms face new crisis: No water
Southern U.S. cities slammed by winter storms that left millions without power for days have traded one crisis for another
6:14PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Will voters remember? Cruz trip tests durability of scandal
Ted Cruz has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies and fiercest critics, personifying both sides of the bind the larger Republican Party now finds itself in
6:06PM ( 13 minutes ago )
'Kimye' is no more: Kardashian files to divorce West
Kim Kardashian West has filed for divorce from Kanye West after 6 1/2 years of marriage
6:04PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Manchin's opposition threatens to sink Biden budget nominee
The nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget has taken a big hit
5:53PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Air Force orders new review into racial, ethnic disparities
The Air Force inspector general will conduct a second investigation into racial and ethnic disparities across the force
5:50PM ( 29 minutes ago )