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Bill would increase penalties for illegal street racing

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Posted at 6:25 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 07:40:21-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new bill introduced at the state capitol would increase penalties for people charged with illegal drag racing.

Right now street racing is a Class B Misdemeanor, carrying up to six months behind bars and a $500 fine. House Bill 22 would change illegal drag racing to a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The bill's sponsor said it would also make it more likely that the driver's car to be taken by police.

"I think for some of the people who are drag racing, the possible seizure of their vehicle may be more of a deterrent," Rep. John Gillespie, R-District 97, said.

Over the last several months, Metro Nashville Police has been cracking down on illegal drag racing, saying it has become a growing issue in the area.

"We've clocked them on our radar devices on the interstate going upwards of 145 miles per hour while there's traffic on the roadway," Lt. Mike Gilliland said.

Gillespie, who's district is in Shelby County, said the problem is statewide.

"I can't tell you how many times a day I see, whether it be 9 in the morning or 10:30 at night, actually racing going down," he said. "This is not unique to just Shelby and Davidson County either, I believe it's also in some rural areas, as well. It's happening all across the state."