Robles Introduces Legislation to Curb Illegal Car Racing
March 19, 2009
State Representative Hector Robles (D-Hartford) recently testified before the Connecticut General Assembly's Transportation Committee in support of legislation (H.B. 5262) that will help curb the serious problem of illegal street racing. The legislation was introduced by Robles, who is also a Hartford police officer, is being considered by the Transportation Committee.
"Illegal street racing is a challenge that our state has been battling for many years. This is not unique to Hartford, but across the state, as many neighboring cities deal with public safety, property damage and several other concerns because of this illegal practice," Rep. Robles stated. The legislation requires that a vehicle involved in illegal racing be impounded for 30 days - recoverable by the registered owner after paying the 30 day storage fee.
A similar law is in effect in San Diego, California, where an impoundment ordinance was passed before it became state law. As a result, San Diego has seen a 70% drop in illegal street racing. Other states have since followed California's example. Governor Rell also testified in favor of the bill.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts also testified before the legislature in favor of the anti-racing bill. On his blog, Roberts wrote, “Illegal street racing has been a growing menace in our city for some years, disturbing the peace and wreaking havoc on certain thoroughfares during the late night hours. Despite increased enforcement efforts, illegal street racers and those who patronize their activities have continued to pose a serious threat to public safety. The situation is extremely hazardous to participants as well as unsuspecting motorists who find themselves engulfed by the swarm of activity. This activity has been especially problematic for the department in that it occurs during peak times for “calls for service” necessitating the redeployment of critical resources from other parts of the city to maintain order and public safety.”
Roberts said Hartford Police enforcement activities have including arresting spectators (it is illegal to be a spectator of illegal street racing); arrests for trespassing and /or interfering with police, and the issuance of thousands of infractions.
According to Robers, “In 2008 alone the public costs associated with illegal street racing included approximately $50,000 for installation of road modifications by the City of Hartford Public Works Department (speed bumps to deter racing), approximately 728 HPD work-hours valued at $67,500.00, and untold costs to homeowners and business owners for property damage to lawns, parks, personal property, fences, and the hiring of security guards. As spring is upon us you can be sure we will do everything we can to enforce quality of life issues and keep our streets safe. Hopefully, if enacted by the General Assembly, the additional enforcement tools provided in this legislation will help deter this hazardous and costly public safety situation. As always, I want to hear your thoughts and suggestions.”