Roswell considers illegal street racing law

Similar to Atlanta, Roswell Police said illegal street racing exhibitions are drawing crowds that block intersections and shutdown late night traffic. Pictured is an Atlanta street racing scene.
Similar to Atlanta, Roswell Police said illegal street racing exhibitions are drawing crowds that block intersections and shutdown late night traffic. Pictured is an Atlanta street racing scene.

Roswell is considering an illegal street racing law aimed at drivers, organizers and spectators placing bets on the events. Police said illegal street racing exhibitions are drawing crowds that block intersections and shut down late night traffic.

City Council is scheduled to vote on the law on Jan. 11. According to the proposed ordinance, illegal racing involves the lining up of vehicles for a contest on public highways, streets and private property open to the general public. Violators would engage in activities such as drifting, swinging and racing their cars. Organizers, racers, race starters and people placing wagers on the illegal races would also run afoul of the ordinance.

The maximum penalty could be 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, said Sean Thompson, Roswell police public information officer.

The city already has a general ordinance addressing reckless and negligent driving with a disregard for traffic conditions and other people.

Roswell police Capt. Kyle Ratliff told a City Council Public Safety Committee Tuesday that his department has responded to more than 135 calls including noise disturbances related to racing since Oct. 1.

Roswell, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta law enforcement agencies share information found on social media detailing where the events will take place. But designated spectators keep an eye out for police so racers and onlookers can disperse as law enforcement approach the location, Thompson said.

After participants fled a November race at a Roswell parking lot, Alpharetta police tracked a driver to a gas station through social media and called Roswell authorities, who arrested him, Thompson said.

Channel 2 Action News reported the man had been racing with his 6- and 10-year-old children in the backseat without seatbelts or restraints.

City Councilman Mike Palermo is sponsoring the new law.

“I strongly believe we need to address the street racing issue,” he told The Atlanta Journal Constitution via text. “It is a safety risk for those out on the streets and it is a disturbance for those that hear it while trying to sleep.”

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