Georgia House, Senate pass bills to crack down on drag racing

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Submitted photo.

The Georgia House passed legislation Monday that paves the way for new penalties for anyone who organizes, promotes or participates in street racing, a troubling trend that has driven a surge of complaints in Atlanta since the start of the pandemic.

House Bill 534, endorsed by Gov. Brian Kemp, aims to crack down on the illegal races. The bill passed 130-39. The Senate also passed a similar version of the legislation, Senate Bill 10.

At a press conference at the Capitol last month, the governor said he has “watched in horror” as street racing proliferates in Atlanta. Flanked by local sheriffs, Kemp said he couldn’t stand by as “our streets, highways and parking lots have become a free-for-all speedway for criminals.”

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In recent months, countless videos have been posted online showing vehicles stopping traffic, blazing down city streets and interstates, and pulling off tricky maneuvers, sometimes while hundreds of spectators watch.

HB 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. It creates crimes for promoting drag racing and reckless stunt driving.