The city of Pico Rivera has moved forward with an “aggressive” ordinance aimed at curtailing street takeovers.
The ordinance would prohibit and penalize spectators and participants with a $2,000 fine and would allow the city to confiscate vehicles involved.
The ordinance was introduced during a City Council meeting Tuesday.
“Although California Vehicle Code Section 23109 makes street takeovers unlawful, the proposed ordinance will implement more aggressive prohibitions and penalties to deter both the racing and the attendance of spectators,” officials said in a news release.
“This proposed ordinance and enforcement options will provide the City with additional tools to address the issue of illegal street takeovers, deter such activities, and ensure that the roadways in Pico Rivera remain safe for everyone,” Councilman John Garcia said in the news release. “By taking action, we are sending a strong message that illegal street takeovers will not be tolerated in Pico Rivera and that the safety and well-being of its residents and visitors are paramount to the City Council.”
Earlier this year, the City Council directed staff to bring an ordinance before the elected body to consider methods of enforcement, like citations and vehicle impounding.
Under the proposed ordinance, any individual present as a spectator would be cited for a misdemeanor and fined. The city attorney or the district attorney can then prosecute a violation of the ordinance and would supplement any other violations, officials explained.
Additionally, vehicles used in street takeovers would be considered a nuisance, would be seized and subject to forfeiture.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jodi Hutak said the ordinance would increase consequences for anyone involved.
“If there is proof that that they are participating, even if they are spectating, they and their vehicles can be subject to arrest or tow,” she said.
Officials said the illegal events pose risks to drivers and spectators, and cause damage to city streets and property.
The open-air demonstrations of dangerous stunts have led to looting, and in once case, even death.
Elyzza Guajaca, 24, was fatally struck during a Christmas Day takeover in South Los Angeles last year.
One person was arrested in connection with the incident.
As a result, the Los Angeles Police Department cracked down on such events by issuing citations and impounding involved vehicles.
The agency, along with other city leaders, have discussed approaching the California Legislature to better define street racing and the consequences of crimes associated with them.
Elsewhere, in Compton, rubber dots called “Botts’ Dots” were installed in an attempt to deter drivers from doing donuts.
The Pico Rivera City Council will again discuss the matter during their next meeting. City Manager Steve Carmona said it could take 30 days to implement the ordinance.