ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation Monday that attempts to curb illegal street racing.
The bill had bipartisan support and paves the way for higher penalties for anyone who organizes, promotes or participates in street racing.
Kemp said the new law “clearly defines participation in street racing, lays out penalties for habitual violators, and makes it a crime to facilitate or organize one of these dangerous events.”
The new law allows authorities to suspend the licenses of some violators for up to a year and impose $5,000 fines. Street racing has become a widespread problem across metro Atlanta.
“Over the last few weeks, a crime suppression unit led by the Georgia Department of Public Safety - in coordination with other state agencies and local law enforcement partners - has cracked down on reckless street racing and other crime in the metro-Atlanta area,” Kemp said in a news release Monday.
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Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne got a firsthand look at the governor’s new crime suppression unit last week.
GSP told Winne that it has teamed up with Atlanta police, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to combat the surge in crime throughout the city.
“Our main mission is to have a presence that we hope will reduce crime and also have an effect on the street racing,” GSP Capt. Ritchie Howard said.
Howard said their strategy begins with traffic stops.
“Through the investigation of the traffic stops, further criminal activity is sometimes uncovered,” Howard said.
“I am deeply appreciative of their collective efforts and their selfless service to our communities,” Kemp said about the new unit. “My goal in championing this legislation is simple: to rid our streets of crime and protect Georgia families.”