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Governor announces legislation to put the increase penalties street racing

Crime and public safety Metro ATL

Governor announces legislation to put the increase penalties street racing

A vehicle impounded during a crackdown on illegal street racing. Photo provided by Atlanta Police

Atlanta, GA — Illegal street racing has been an ongoing problem since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing legislation that would increase penalties on drivers that burn rubber on public streets for kicks.

“In recent months, we have watched in horror as crime has skyrocketed in our capital city. Our brave law enforcement officers have worked tirelessly to contain the lawlessness, protect the communities they serve, and keep Georgians safe,” Kemp said in a press release. “Today, I am proposing legislation to crack down on street racing by toughening penalties for offenders and holding those who promote these criminal activities responsible. In Georgia, we will not tolerate this reckless, illegal behavior.”

Police in metro Atlanta have issued hundreds of citations for drag racing and targeted drag racing events. DeKalb County leaders have expressed support for laws that toughen penalties for the offense.

Kemp is promoting House Bill 534, which proposes suspending the driver’s license of anyone convicted of reckless stunt driving for 12 months for a first-time offense and violators could face a fine of up to $5,000. To read the bill, click here.

DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson gathered community leaders and elected officials virtually on Jan. 21 to address growing concern over illegal car racing on local streets and major highways.

Decatur resident Bobbie Sanford was also on the panel. Her daughter-in-law, Jaye Sanford, for whom the bill is named, died in November 2020 near Memorial Drive and Columbia Drive in Decatur when her car was hit head on by a street racer. Jaye’s daughter survived the crash.

“People who choose to street race, if they realize, if they stop for a moment to think about the devastation and the grief that they can cause families. No family should have to suffer and go through the experience that we have experienced,” Bobbie said.

Writer Logan C. Ritchie contributed to this story. 

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