Commentary: They Can't Race Without Cars

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, February 23, 2007

Police blame street racers for the deaths of a popular teacher and a 16 year old boy in recent car accidents at opposite ends of Sacramento County. In response to those deaths, Roseville Assemblyman Ted Gaines has introduced a bill that would make it easier to prosecute street racing teenagers as adults when they kill someone.

But why fill already crowded prisons with teenagers, and why wait until someone dies? Sacramento Senators Darrell Steinberg and Dave Cox have a better idea. They’ve introduced a bill that would allow local communities to seize the vehicles of people caught street racing.

A few years ago when San Diego passed a local street racing forfeiture ordinance, racing fatalities and injuries in that city declined dramatically. Criminologists who studied the phenomenon concluded that the possibility of being tried for murder wasn’t as likely to stop teens from racing as the threat of losing a beloved car.

And there is this added benefit: authorities don’t have to wait until someone dies to take action.

Get caught street racing, lose your car.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.