New Arizona law looks to help curb spike in drag racing incidents
PHOENIX — A new Arizona law that went into effect last month is looking to help put the brakes on a spike in street racing incidents.
Drag racing has been an issue in the Valley for years as groups gather in the streets and block traffic from moving through.
The Phoenix Police Department said Tuesday the number of incidents went from 388 in 2019 to 6,216 in 2020.
So far this year, there have been 4,310 incidents.
The law passed by the Arizona State Legislature that went into effect on Sept. 29 not only holds people caught street racing responsible, but also those who hold the registration of the car if it is a different person.
“We’re making them aware of the involvement of the vehicle and their involvement in having this vehicle available to the driver, and them possibly doing it again,” said Phoenix police officer Marc Quintero, who is part of a task force developed last year to help solve the issue.
“It can hold them liable and aiding and abetting.”
Meanwhile, those caught street racing receive a misdemeanor first but the second time around it’s a felony.
Courtney Sullivan, a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said her office is seeing repetitive behavior when it comes to street racing.
“There’s literally been instances where they’ve gotten a citation for one street racing incident, then gone to another street racing event an hour later and they were cited again,” Sullivan said.
She added Arizona recognizes that street racing takes place in two different ways. There is the traditional side-by-side street race, but burnouts are classified as racing as well.
The majority of people involved in street racing are between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Phoenix police ask families to talk to their young adults about the dangers and consequences of street racing.