8/23/2005Riverside, CA to Make Watching Engine Revving a Crime
Merely being near a revving engine could be a crime under a proposed Riverside County, California ordinance.
The Riverside County, California Board of Supervisors will begin consideration of a proposal today that would make merely being within two hundred feet of an "exhibition of speed" or illegal drag race a crime carrying a $1000 fine or 90 days in prison. The city of Oakland recently adopted a similar ordinance to combat "sideshows."
According to the text of the proposal, the new crime could occur even if a drag race does not: "Anyone who is knowingly present as a spectator.... where preparations are being made for an illegal motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition of speed is guilty of a misdemeanor subject to a maximum of ninety days in jail, or a fine of up to $1,000."
The definition of "preparations" includes "one or more drivers is revving his engine or spinning his tires in preparation for the event" and would apply whether the spectator was on public streets or even private property.
Riverside County is taking these measures as it moves to join with Los Angeles and San Bernardino County in accepting its share of $5 million in federal funds earmarked for California anti-drag racing efforts. These counties and nearby cities will form the West End Regional Street Racing Task Force. The cities involved in the task force will receive $400,000 each in federal funds over two years to hire full-time officers, and pay for overtime and equipment.
As part of the Drag-Net program, task force members will be trained how to spot "modified cars" -- usually imports -- that they claim are likely to participate in drag racing so that they can be issued expensive citations for exhaust noise, emissions and other infractions. Twelve officers on Drag-Net duty in Santa Fe Springs issued 300 citations and impounded 50 vehicles in just one weekend. Several area cities have also adopted drag-racing ordinances that allow police to auction off seized cars and keep the profits. Judges, however, have declared the seizure ordinances in Ontario and Fontana unconstitutional and the cities are currently redrafting the ordinances to withstand court challenges.
A full copy of the proposed Riverside County ordinance is available at the source link below in a 1.2 MB PDF file.