Last week I had the opportunity to testify before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee in support of House Bill 5262, An Act Concerning the Impoundment of Vehicles Used for Illegal Street Racing. The purpose of the legislation would be to discourage Illegal street racing by allowing that anyone who engages in illegal street racing shall have the motor vehicle being operated by such person at the time of the violation impounded for thirty days. The legislation also provides for a series of fines. Here is a link to the bill: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=5262&which_year=2009.
Illegal street racing has been a growing menace in our city for some years, disturbing the peace and wreaking havoc on certain thoroughfares during the late night hours. Despite increased enforcement efforts, illegal street racers and those who patronize their activities have continued to pose a serious threat to public safety. The situation is extremely hazardous to participants as well as unsuspecting motorists who find themselves engulfed by the swarm of activity. This activity has been especially problematic for the department in that it occurs during peak times for “calls for service” necessitating the redeployment of critical resources from other parts of the city to maintain order and public safety.
Enforcement activities have including arresting spectators (it is illegal to be a spectator of illegal street racing); arrests for trespassing and /or interfering with police, and the issuance of thousands of infractions.
In 2008 alone the public costs associated with illegal street racing included approximately $50,000 for installation of road modifications by the City of Hartford Public Works Department (speed bumps to deter racing), approximately 728 HPD work-hours valued at $67,500.00, and untold costs to homeowners and business owners for property damage to lawns, parks, personal property, fences, and the hiring of security guards.
As spring is upon us you can be sure we will do everything we can to enforce quality of life issues and keep our streets safe. Hopefully, if enacted by the General Assembly, the additional enforcement tools provided in this legislation will help deter this hazardous and costly public safety situation. As always, I want to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Visit this link on YouTube to see the extent and brazenness of illegal street racers in our area.