Source: California Globe
A bill that would expand the scope of the ban on illegal street races in California passed the Assembly on Monday.
Assembly Bill 2000, authored by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), would crack down further on illegal street racing, as well as similar “sideshows” and other non-legal events. Specifically, illegal street racing would be expanded beyond highways and streets. Under AB 2000, they would also now be illegal to do in off street parking lots.
Assemblyman Gabriel wrote the bill to combat the rise in street racing in the last few years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the early days, empty streets enticed many street racers. This led to not only a major surge in California and across the country, but also many resultant deaths. In a statement, Gabriel noted that three people were killed during an illegal street race in Burbank in August 2021, a Woodland Hills woman was killed during a race in October 2021, and the arrest of over three dozen people at several illegal street racing gatherings in Los Angeles.
AB 2000 would also serve as an expansion to last years passed bill AB 3, which increased the penalties for illegally street racing.
“Far too frequently, street racing and illegal sideshows devastate families, harm innocent bystanders, and cut short young lives,” Assemblyman Gabriel said. “Communities in the San Fernando Valley and across California are sick and tired of this reckless behavior. This bipartisan legislation will crack down on dangerous activity and help to save lives."
Since being introduced in February, AB 2000 has received widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans. Including the Assembly vote on Monday, all votes to date have been unanimous. The message of preventing deaths has swayed any opposition to the bill, with no lawmaker or group currently being on record in opposition. Testimony from those who have lost loved ones due to illegal street races in particular has been a compelling influencer for many.
“AB 2000 will help us save lives, and prevent further crashes and drivers going to prison for manslaughter,” said Lili Trujillo, Founder and Executive Director of Street Racing Kills, a non-profit created in 2014 after Trujillo’s 16-year-old daughter, Valentina, was killed in a street racing incident. “An exhibition of speed in a parking lot is way too common now and people are being hurt and killed, AB 2000 is definitely a great tool to help us save lives.”
Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) also added on Tuesday that “There are countless stories every week throughout California about illegal street races and dangerous sideshows shutting down streets, causing accidents, damaging neighborhoods, and endangering lives. They are unpredictable, destructive, and can lead to senseless deaths that devastate families. AB 2000 is an important and needed step in cracking down on illegal sideshows to make our communities safer and save lives.”
Capitol insiders told the Globe on Tuesday that AB 2000 would likely pass in the coming months.
“This is one of those bills that is only voted against on accident,” explained “Dana,” a State Capitol staffer, to the Globe. “It would be very surprising if this bill is seriously challenged in the Senate or by Governor Newsom. To many this is a common sense measure and to others this is a law that will reduce street racing and will result in the arrest of more for having done it. Something to like in it for everyone.”
AB 2000 is due to be heard in Senate committees in the coming weeks.