For those who have seen — or heard — cars racing around West Valley streets, avenues and highways, Sen. Paul Boyer can relate.
Boyer, who represents District 20, introduced legislation aimed at stopping street and drag racing last week.
“I talked to a few officers a few weeks ago who told me there’s been an increasing problem,” Boyer said.
“They’re not allowed to give their opinions in uniform, so I did some digging and found yes, indeed, it’s been primarily a West Valley problem.”
Boyer, who lives in Glendale, said Maryvale is one of the worst areas in the state for illegal racing.
His SB 1659 lays the groundwork for stricter penalties, including impoundment and a $1,000 fine.
The bill also proposes the creation of the Drag Racing Prevention Enforcement Fund, which will provide additional resources to local law enforcement agencies.
Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor supported Boyer’s bill.
“This bill is a big step forward in stopping the growing issue of street and drag racing in our communities,” Pastor said.
“Our office has received numerous complaints from constituents and police officers have expressed the need for additional tools to combat the issue. We hope that this bill, once approved will aid local law enforcement and help our communities be a safer place.”
Boyer stressed that this is not just an annoyance.
“Street racing is not only increasing, it’s also becoming more violent,” he said. “This is a danger to the officers who are shot at trying to break it up, to the spectators who are in harm’s way and the general public who has to avoid gunshots, fireworks and cars careening out of control.
“SB 1659 will protect the public by helping to take away the incentive for those who are drawn to these dangerous events.”
Jack Lunsford, a spokesman for the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs and its affiliate, also supported the bill.
“Street racing is extremely dangerous not only to the drivers but to the spectators as well,” said Lunsford, “Law enforcement officers need every tool available to deter this bad behavior and to arrest those who put lives in danger.
“This legislation is a great step toward that.”
Boyer said he will be working to gain support to get the bill passed.