Atlanta lawmakers have faced immense pressure to crack down on the illegal races, and the city has taken steps to increase penalties for violators.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced his support for legislation that would increase penalties in connection with street racing.
In August, the Atlanta City Council passed an ordinance that sets penalties for those who attend street racing events, even if they aren’t driving in them. Offenders can be fined up to $1,000 or spend up to six months in jail.
And in November, the city adopted a new law that requires anyone arrested in connection with street racing to stay in jail until they go before a judge, usually within 24 to 48 hours of arrest. Previously, offenders were allowed to immediately bond out of jail after arrest.
The Republican governor, who has battled with Bottoms over a range of issues, said more needed to be done.
The measure, House Bill 534, would allow authorities to suspend the licenses of some violators for up to a year and calls for penalties as high as $5,000. Repeat offenders could face additional prison time under the proposal and lose their cars. It creates crimes for promoting drag racing and reckless stunt driving.
“In Georgia,” Kemp said, “we will not tolerate this reckless, illegal behavior.”