Bay area residents are familiar enough with illegal street racing. It’s a common enough occurrence and even local racing groups like Infra Red Racing have spoken out against taking races to the streets instead of to the track. Recently, Fairfield police have begun investigating the death of 31-year-old a Fairfield resident who was killed when he found himself in the path of an illegal street race.
Though California penalties for street racing used to be quite lax, California Highway Patrol officers and new legislation have increased the legal risk for anyone caught illegally racing in public streets. (CA Vehicle Code 23109) prohibits what they term “Speed Contests.” This includes illegally racing on California highways and streets any time that a timing device is used to determine the winner of said contest and it provides for prosecuting anyone involved in the race, whether they are the driver of one of the vehicles involved or not.
If you are caught participating in an illegal speed contest, the penalties are harsh. For example, if you are the driver in a speed contest (even if it’s a first offense), you could be looking at up to a $1,000 fine and 24 hours to 90 days in county. Your vehicle will also be impounded and you will be responsible for the towing charges and they could even sell your car if you are unable to pay. Anyone even watching an illegal street race could spend up to 90 days in county jail. Of course, penalties increase significantly if, as in the above case, “great bodily injury” or death occurs, especially if it is the death of a bystander.