Across the United States, some 40,000 people are killed each year in crashes with cars. Here in the City of Atlanta, 73 people were killed in traffic in 2019. That's 73 families who will never be the same after the loss of their loved one. People driving too fast is the primary cause of deadly crashes in our city.
Street racing has gained popularity throughout the U.S. during the pandemic as people look for outdoor entertainment, but it can be dangerous for drivers, observers, and people who simply happen to be nearby. Atlanta residents’ concerns about the high speeds led the Atlanta City Council to set a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to 6 months jail time in August. Now, legislation being considered by Atlanta City Council would require anyone arrested for street racing to go before a judge before they could be released from jail.
2020’s protests for racial justice have elevated the recognition that the use of armed police force is not a good solution to societal problems-- including traffic safety. We opposed the use of armed police as a tool to achieve zero traffic deaths because it endangers the very lives this policy seeks to preserve--disproportionately putting Black and Brown people at risk--while wasting public resources on ineffective approaches.
Street racing and other forms of speeding are a major barrier to safe streets. That's why we recommend the following more effective ways to address it:
1. Street design, street design, street design. The barriers installed on Edgewood Avenue in Old Fourth Ward and Peters Street in Castleberry Hill are effective at preventing street racing. Adding traffic calming devices to streets makes it hard to speed at any time, whether it's for entertainment or simply out of habit. In so doing we can make our streets safer 24/7, not just during these street racing incidents. Engineering is more effective than enforcement because the way a street is designed and built is always present, while law enforcement's presence is temporary.
2. Impounding vehicles instead of incarcerating people. As a study in Justice Quarterly concluded, "Even in the face of these possible alternative explanations, several regression analyses revealed that the forfeiture ordinance had the most pronounced effect on street‐racing casualties."
Ultimately, speeding kills. Our vision of Atlanta is one that allows everyone to move safely, easily, and sustainably across the city. We implore Atlantans to consider the role that every type of speeding represents in harming irreplaceable members of our community and their families, to reject destructive measures of overcriminalization and armed police enforcement as solutions, and work together to adopt a comprehensive view of safety that possesses the real capacity to achieve zero deaths in our streets.
- Southern Center for Human Rights
- Reporter Newspaper "New Atlanta street racing law does not ban all spectators, raises civil liberties concerns”
- CBS46: “Street racing groups come to the table with city council”
- Justice Quarterly “Explaining San Diego’s Decline in Illegal Street‐Racing Casualties”
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service “Street Racing”
- Racers Against Street Racing
- [Pending] 20-O-1653 (2) - AN ORDINANCE BY COUNCILMEMBERS MICHEAL JULIAN BOND, DUSTIN R. HILLIS, CARLA SMITH, ANDREA L. BOONE AND J.P. MATZIGKEIT AMENDING THE CITY OF ATLANTA CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE I, SECTION 62-31, (ENTITLED “BAIL ESTABLISHED UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES”), IN ORDER TO REQUIRE THE DETENTION OF A DEFENDANT UNTIL THE INITIAL APPEARANCE HEARING FOR CERTAIN VEHICULAR OFFENSES RELATED TO STREET RACING WHICH CREATE DANGERS TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
- [Pending] 20-R-4429: A RESOLUTION BY COUNCILMEMBER ANTONIO BROWN URGING GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP AND THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRIS WRIGHT TO RECONSIDER THE POLICY OF THE GEORGIA STATE PATROL TO CONDUCT HIGH SPEED PURSUITS WITHIN THE JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
- [Adopted] 20-O-1361 - TO BE ENTITLED "NON-DRIVER PARTICIPATION IN STREET RACING AND RECKLESS DRIVING EXHIBITIONS”, TO SET PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. AN ORDINANCE BY COUNCILMEMBERS MICHEAL JULIAN BOND, DUSTIN R. HILLIS, CARLA SMITH, ANDREA L. BOONE AND J.P. MATZIGKEIT AMENDING THE CITY OF ATLANTA CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 62, ARTICLE I, SECTION 62-31, (ENTITLED “ BAIL ESTABLISHED UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.”), IN ORDER TO REQUIRE THE DETENTION OF A DEFENDANT UNTIL THE INITIAL APPEARANCE HEARING FOR CERTAIN VEHICULAR OFFENSES RELATED TO STREET RACING WHICH CREATE DANGERS TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.