Shreveport City Council votes to hit the brakes on illegal street racing by hiking fines

Crime

FILE (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Shreveport City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to increase fines for illegal drag racing on the city’s streets.

Dist. A Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor and Dist. C Councilman John Nickelson introduced the ordinance in September to increase fines and penalties for illegal drag racing in Shreveport. Penalties for violating the ordinance would be a fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for a second. Any subsequent offense could result in up to 30 days in jail or both. Any vehicle used in drag racing may also be impounded by law enforcement

The new regulations will go into effect on October 28.

“I think individuals have to understand that public streets and public roadways are not an opportunity for you to drag race,” Taylor said. “It’s something they won’t tolerate. You can actually kill somebody. I think it is time for us to increase our enforcement on there and work with other supporting agencies in order to do that.”

The vote comes amid a nationwide increase in illegal drag racing activity since the onset of COVID. Many states have introduced new legislation this year to try to address the increase in racing and accidents.

In May, New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced legislation, named the FURIOUS Act after the popular street racing movie franchise, that would authorize New York City to operate its speed cameras overnight and on weekends in hot spots for illegal street racing. The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved the measure and it was enacted in September.

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in March a bill that allows state troopers to respond to incidents in cities. On New Year’s Eve, drivers blocked traffic on an interstate highway in Jackson, the state capital, for an hour while they spun out and did donuts, etching circles in the pavement.

Even though the highway patrol headquarters was nearby, troopers couldn’t respond because they were prohibited from handling incidents in cities with over 15,000 people. That new law took effect July 1.

For those in the Shreveport area looking to race legally, the Platinum Raceway in Gilliam is the only National Hot Rod Association sanctioned track in the area. Owner Leon Jackson is a racing enthusiast himself and wants to provide a safe place for them to gather.

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