Tip: don't break these laws... or else.
If you’re thinking of giving illegal street racing a try – and we’re not by any means suggesting you should – then definitely don’t go to San Jose, California. The US state has been experiencing widespread street racing problems and government officials are working with police to end the practice. However, the city of San Jose has had enough. According to ABC 7 News, the San Jose City Council has unanimously voted to approve some harsh new legislation against street racing. How harsh?
Well, even watching as a spectator is now punishable by a $1,000 fine and six months in the slammer. The new legislation also gives authorities broad powers to go after these spectators.
Police can even arrest anyone standing within 200 feet of an ongoing street race. This includes watching acts such as burnouts and drifting. Here’s part of the law’s exact text: "It shall be unlawful for any person to (1) Be knowingly present as a Spectator at a Street Race conducted on a public street or highway; or (2) Be knowingly present as a Spectator at a Reckless Driving Exhibition conducted on a public street or highway or in an Offstreet Parking Facility.”
Another section of the new law even authorizes misdemeanor charges to anyone hanging around during street racing "preparations.”
"Often times, these individuals are doing these sideshows exactly because people are watching," SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia told ABC7 News. In 2015, a street racing accident killed an innocent bystander and an officer was injured in 2017 during a sideshow. Last October, a driver suspected of partaking in a street race struck another vehicle and killed an innocent person. In six months’ time, the City Council will meet again to discuss the new law’s impact and whether any changes will be necessary.
If San Jose’s new law proves to be effective, then chances are it’ll serve as a model for not only other California cities but cities across the US as well. Illegal street racing isn’t limited to only California.