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Seattle city attorney proposes law authorizing $500 fines for street racing

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(The Center Square) – Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison is proposing new legislation that would adopt recent state law and fine people who partake in illegal street racing throughout city streets.

The proposed legislation would adopt a state law that expands the definition of street racing to include drifting and street takeover events. That law was adopted by state legislators in 2023 and went into effect on Jan. 1.

Davison’s proposal would further seek to disincentivize street racing by establishing a $500 civil infraction against the registered owner of a vehicle participating. This fine is not a part of state law.

“This legislation responds to the recent rise in large street racing takeover events that pose a safety hazard to the public — pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers,” Davison said in a news release. “The new civil infraction will give police a tool to hold vehicle owners accountable when their cars are used at these events.”

Last July, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance that kickstarted the city’s plans to install more automated traffic safety cameras throughout the city and designate restricted street racing zones.

In that same month, a woman was shot and killed at an illegal street racing event in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Davison’s office also noted that as recently as last month, dozens of drivers continue to participate in street takeovers, despite police presence and repeated warnings from officers.

“We must take action in the face of these increasing incidents, particularly as a nexus for gun violence, and this new law would be an important step forward,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said.

The legislation will have to be approved by the city council and signed by Harrell before it can go into effect.