As illegal street racing remains a problem, the city of Atlanta is seeking the state’s help in addressing the issue.
At its Nov. 16 meeting, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta City Council voted 15-0 to approve a resolution to ask the Georgia General Assembly to amend state law to permit vehicles to be temporarily seized when used in connection with offenses related to street racing exhibitions (Legislative Reference No. 20-R-4566). The Legislature’s 2021 session is scheduled to begin Jan. 11
In August, the council adopted 20-O-1361 to amend the city’s code of ordinances to allow the Atlanta Police Department to charge non-driver participants with offenses related to street racing. The legislation also authorized the police to temporarily seize and hold vehicles used for street racing if authorized under state law.
However, state law currently does not allow a vehicle to be seized when used in connection with street racing.
Illegal street racing continues to be an issue in Atlanta and other parts of the metro area. Last month the Atlanta Police requested the public’s help in finding four suspects tied to an incident of street racing near the intersection of Northside Drive and Interstate 75.
Also, street racing is one of the three concerns the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods has, with the other two being illegal truck traffic and noise violations. Mary Norwood, that organization’s president, is working with members of the Atlanta City Council, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the police and others on the idea of forming Buckhead Blue, a group of off-duty police officers hired to patrol the area’s commercial district, which is where street racing has occurred in Buckhead in the past.
Fulton Chair Robb Pitts, a Buckhead Blue committee member who lives in a condo in a Peachtree Road building in Buckhead, was awakened by racers in the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church parking lot at about 1:30 a.m. one night in September.
“It woke up everybody on my building,” he said. “People are at their wit’s end. The more we talked about (the Buckhead Blue idea), the more we thought it may be a good idea. It’s not just Buckhead. Crime and street racing (are) happening all over (the county).”