Chicago Readies Measure To Control Drag Racing

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Chicago Alderman Edward Burke is pressing for a measure to impound the vehicles of motorists caught drag racing, the Chicago Tribune says. Drag racing “creates a clear and imminent danger to people who are working in those areas,” Burke told a committee meeting yesterday. “Right now there’s no effective deterrent. Seizure of vehicles would be an effective deterrent.”

Dozens of cities have enacted anti-drag racing laws in response to fatalities, the Tribune says. Burke modeled Chicago’s legislation after San Diego’s, where a significant decrease in drag-racing deaths was reported after the laws were toughened.

Two neighborhood residents testified that their area has become “a living hell” with screeching tires, homemade mufflers and big crowds. “Every weekend it’s just like watching the movie `The Fast and The Furious’,” said Walter Szkarlat, referring to the popular racing film. “It seems like there’s a fatality just waiting to happen.”

Chicago Police Lt. Don Kuchar said the department would welcome an ordinance to break up drag-racing parties. The image of drag racing has shed its rite-of-passage innocence and has developed into an elaborate network of clubs that share information through the Internet and text messaging on cell phones, he said.


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