8 Jan 2020

Street Racing In Phoenix Reaching A Crisis Point

For years, authorities in the city of Phoenix and throughout the state of Arizona have wrestled with how to handle the dangerous trend of street racing.  Now the Phoenix Police Department and the Governor’s Office may have come up with a solution that can begin to address the problem.

In an exclusive report issued by ABC 15 in Phoenix, Alberto Gutier with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said on Tuesday that because police in Phoenix didn’t have the manpower to address the growing issue of street racing, it appealed to his office, meaning that they wanted to create a task force.

“It’s getting to the point where it’s out of control,” Gutier said.

The Phoenix Police Department Chief, Jeri Williams, submitted a letter of proposal to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety on December 13th and requested a $100,000 grant to be used to create a task force of officers dedicated to the issue of street racing in the city. The proposal stated that the department would commit 20 officers, five motor officers,  aircraft which would include a fixed-wing plane and a helicopter, as well as a police sergeant and a lieutenant to address the issue.

I think with the way the task force will work is they will become part of the network without the drivers realizing they’re a part of the network.” District 4 Councilmember Laura Pastor told ABC.

Pastor is also concerned that street racers that are caught only receive a civil citation with very little in terms of consequences attached. Increasing police presence in the Valley will help, but that is only part of the solution. She advocates changing the law and empowering police to either immobilize or impound a vehicle longer than the present law which only allows vehicles used in street racing to be impounded for 24 hours.

The proposed legislation, ARS 28-3511, would allow police to impound a vehicle for up to 30 days and give steeper financial penalties to those caught street racing. Pastor hopes that the steeper penalties will begin to reduce the number of street racing incidents that continue to put people’s lives at risk.

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