FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Law enforcement and lawmakers gathered in Fresno on Friday to remind locals of the dangers – and consequences – of street racing.
“There is not a weekend that goes by where there is not a street race or sideshow happening in California,” said Assemblymember Vince Fong.
According to the California Highway Patrol, officers responded to more than 29,000 calls for service related to street racing and sideshow activities in 2021. That’s up from 3,500 in 2019.
“These incidents often lead to violent vehicle collisions, often resulting in the loss of life to only the participants but innocent bystanders,” said CHP Chief Ceto Ortiz.
Assemblymember Jim Patterson specifically mentioned the chaos sideshows have brought to streets like Belmont, Blackstone and Herndon in Fresno.
“We experience the effects almost every weekend. Herndon Avenue is quickly becoming a speedway.”
Fong authored a bill last year that gives judges the authority to suspend someone’s driver’s license for up to six months if they are convicted of participating in sideshows. He and other lawmakers are now going a step further, asking the state to give $5.5. million to the CHP.
“It’s dedicated resources specifically for more patrols and of course, it’s to allow them to monitor the organizing, social media sites that are involved in putting these dangerous sideshows together.”
Fong said they are going through the budget process right now and he has partnered with Assemblyman Jim Cooper.
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama was also in attendance on Friday, reminding the citizens of Fresno to call police as soon as they suspect a sideshow or street race is taking place.