SACRAMENTO, CA — The California State Assembly yesterday passed Assembly Bill (AB) 2000, which will prohibit street racing and sideshows from occurring in parking lots across the state. The measure, authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D – Woodland Hills), aims to crack down on dangerous driving—including street racing, “sideshows,” and street takeovers—which continue to cause injuries and fatalities across California.
“Far too frequently, street racing and illegal sideshows devastate families, harm innocent bystanders, and cut short young lives,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “Communities in the San Fernando Valley and across California are sick and tired of this reckless behavior. This bipartisan legislation will crack down on dangerous activity and help to save lives.”
Across the state, COVID-19 has caused a sharp rise in illegal street racing activity as drivers took advantage of roads emptied by stay-at-home orders. In 2020, the California Highway Patrol responded to more than 25,000 calls involving illegal street racing activity statewide, an alarming increase of more than 3,500 calls from the year before.
In Southern California, street racing and sideshows have become extremely popular. In August and October of 2021, respectively, a Calabasas teen was among three people killed by apparent street racers in a three-vehicle collision in Burbank caused by street racing, and a Woodland Hills woman was killed and seven others were injured after a driver lost control while racing. Just last week, police arrested three dozen people at several illegal street takeovers in and around Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
Statewide law enforcement groups have identified driver’s license suspensions as an effective tool for deterrence of illegal street racing activity. Expanding on AB 3, which was signed into law last year, AB 2000 allows courts to issue a driver’s license suspension for the exhibition of motor vehicle speed during a sideshow taking place in a parking lot—an area not currently covered under law—and thereby helps to further deter individuals from engaging in these dangerous activities.
“AB 2000 will help us save lives, and prevent further crashes and drivers going to prison for manslaughter,” said Lili Trujillo, Founder and Executive Director of Street Racing Kills, a non-profit created in 2014 after Trujillo’s 16-year-old daughter, Valentina, was killed in a street racing incident. “An exhibition of speed in a parking lot is way too common now and people are being hurt and killed, AB 2000 is definitely a great tool to help us save lives!”
“There are countless stories every week throughout California about illegal street races and dangerous sideshows shutting down streets, causing accidents, damaging neighborhoods, and endangering lives,” said Assemblymember Vince Fong (R – Kern County). “They are unpredictable, destructive, and can lead to senseless deaths that devastate families. AB 2000 is an important and needed step in cracking down on illegal sideshows to make our communities safer and save lives.”
AB 2000 now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be heard in policy committee in the coming weeks.