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Grant Will Help Put Brakes On Street Racing, Sideshows

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently received federal funding to bolster the state’s redoubled efforts to help reduce reckless driving behaviors statewide and crack down on the alarming rise of illegal sideshows, takeovers, and street racing.

The $2 million Sideshow, Takeover, Racing, Education, and Enforcement Taskforce (STREET II) grant aims to decrease the number of fatal and injury traffic crashes caused by these illegal and dangerous high-speed activities. The grant builds on the CHP’s recent work, including $5.5 million in the 2022-23 state budget specifically targeted to curb street racing and sideshows, to continue a public education campaign and specialized enforcement operations.

“Illegal street racing and sideshows are not just reckless activities; they are potential tragedies in the making. These events put lives at risk, not only for the participants but also for innocent bystanders,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “The STREET II grant will enhance community outreach efforts and enforcement measures to protect the safety and well-being of California’s communities and ensure our roadways remain safe for everyone.”

In 2021, the CHP responded to more than 7,300 incidents of illegal sideshows statewide with nearly 123,000 participants. While officials noted that the number of incidents decreased by approximately 50 percent last year, they said there is still a significant amount of work to be done to keep California’s communities, and those who use our roads, safe.

The number of incidents resulting from unsafe driving behaviors, including motorists exceeding 100 mph on state highways, illegal street racing and sideshow activities, and speed-related crashes are occurring at a staggering pace, the CHP commissioner said. Between Jan. 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023, enhanced speed enforcement operations were carried out on state routes experiencing a surge in speed-related problems. During this period, the CHP issued more than 31,000 citations to motorists for exceeding 100 mph.

The CHP, in collaboration with allied agencies, also established task forces targeting street racing and sideshows, along with launching social media campaigns aimed at raising awareness about the perils linked to high-speed, aggressive driving behaviors and street racing.

The STREET II grant supports a comparable campaign through Sept. 30, 2024. Funding for the STREET II program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.