New bill aimed at cracking down on, toughening penalties for illegal street racing

ATLANTA — State leaders want to crack down on street racing.

Over the last few months, there have been countless videos of drivers speeding down interstates and local streets and doing dangerous stunts for crowds.

Now, one metro lawmaker wants to change state law and put in place harsher punishments against those drivers.

It’s a bill that has a lot of support for the Sanford family.

Jaye Sanford didn’t have any time to react when accused street racers caused the DeKalb County crash that killed her in November.

“In a split of a second, my daughter-in-law’s life was taken,” said Bobbie Sanford.

Some state lawmakers and Sanford’s family have testified at the state Capitol that now is the time to act to prevent more deaths.

“Our 16-year-old granddaughter was there to witness that. I felt such immense pain,” Bobbie Sanford said.


Senate Bill 10 is directly aimed at street racing and drivers who lay drag. It’s also known as Jaye Mize Law in Jaye Sanford’s honor.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that his bill toughens existing laws.

“This is not an urban issue. This is an issue all over the state,” Jones said.

The arresting officer would be able to impound the racer’s car until the case is resolved. It also increases the mandatory fine for a street racing conviction to $1,000.

“The punishment in terms of incarceration hasn’t changed from what’s already on the books for these illegal activities. My bill simply increases the fines,” Jones said.

It would also add six to eight points to the driver’s record.

“High Performance” cars with 650 or more horsepower would also require a special registration with a designated license plate.

“I want a tough bill that’s going to send a strong message to those out there that’s participating in and organizing these events,” Jones said.

Marissa McCall Dodson with the Southern Center for Human Rights said the bill goes too far.

“It will have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown youth,” Dodson said.

She told Johnson that existing laws are strong enough.

“As long as his bill or any proposal has these punitive measures of increasing crimes, increasing penalties, taking people’s cars, we are going to be opposed to it,” Dodson said.

Metro police departments continue to enforce the street and drag racing laws on the books.

The Atlanta Police Department stated its street racing detail issued 68 citations, impounded three cars and made three arrests last weekend.

In DeKalb County, jail records show that authorities have arrested four people on racing charges in the past month.

Bobbie Sanford told Johnson that the bill would be a small step toward a dangerous trend.

“I’m not trying to get anyone jailed or in prison. What I’d like to do is to be able to help save lives,” Sanford said.