News Release


DATE: June 10, 2003

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SAN DIEGO - Spectators who cheer on high speed street races must be held accountable for perpetuating the deadly activity, Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said Tuesday as the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two measures designed to crack down on dangerous street races.

At the request of Vice Chairwoman Jacob and Sheriff Bill Kolender, the Board approved an ordinance making it illegal to knowingly watch an illegal street race. Individuals caught in the act can be charged with a misdemeanor, fined $1000 and serve up to six months in jail.

"By encouraging racing, spectators are proliferating racing," Vice Chairwoman Jacob said. "Too many people have been senselessly hurt or killed by the actions of irresponsible street racers."

"Our hope is that this law will save lives by discouraging both the illegal racers and the spectators from congregating and staging these very dangerous races," said Sheriff Kolender.

In addition, the Board agreed to seek a change in state law that would grant law enforcement officials the ability to take permanent possession of cars used in illegal street races. The County also would like to strengthen penalties for illegal street racing.

Vice Chairwoman Jacob praised area cities for similar efforts to crack down on street racing and urged the County to act immediately to put an end to racing in the County's unincorporated areas.

"I don't want the roads in the unincorporated areas to become death alleys," she said.

Over the past 18 months, at least 17 people have been killed as a result of street racing in San Diego County.

The spectator ordinance is expected to take effect after June 17.