Illegal sideshows, takeovers, and street racing remain a major cause of death and injury on California roadways. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently received a federal grant that will support the state’s redoubled efforts to crack down on reckless driving behaviors that continue to wreak havoc throughout the state.
Building on the $5.5 million in the 2022-23 state budget for the CHP to implement the Campaign to Eliminate Street Racing and Sideshows (C.E.S.R.S.), the $1.5 million Sideshow, Takeover, Racing, Education, and Enforcement Taskforce (STREET) grant will help efforts to decrease the number of fatal and injury traffic crashes attributed to illegal sideshows, takeovers, and street racing.
In 2019-2020, speed was a factor in approximately 40 percent of all fatal and injury crashes in California. In years 2020-2021, preliminary data reflects the number of people killed in crashes caused by reckless driving increased 21 percent from the previous period. The CHP continues to receive a high number of reports on sideshows and street racing and the negative consequences associated with such careless exploits.
To address the issue, from Jan. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022, the CHP conducted enhanced speed enforcement operations on state routes that have seen an increase in speed-related issues. During this period, the CHP issued 40,593 citations to motorists exceeding 100 mph. CHP also collaborated with allied law enforcement agencies, leading to the creation of street racing and sideshow task forces and social media campaigns posting the dangers associated with high speed, aggressive driving behaviors, and street racing.
The STREET grant allows for a comparable campaign running now through Sept. 30, 2023. Funding for the STREET program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Reckless driving behaviors are a significant threat to all who use California’s roadways,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “The STREET grant will provide for a focused education and enforcement campaign, targeting aggressive driving behaviors, street racing, and sideshow activities.”
During the past two years, California has seen significant increases in the number of incidents from unsafe driving behaviors, including motorists exceeding 100 mph on state highways, illicit street racing and sideshow activities, and speed-related crashes.
As an added deterrent, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill 2000, making it illegal for a person to participate and/or engage in a motor vehicle speed contest or in an exhibition of speed in an off-street parking facility. The measure goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.