WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta has an interest in maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City and its visitors; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-6-186, no person shall drive any vehicle on a highway in the State of Georgia in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition of speed, contest of speed, or test or exhibition of speed; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to § 40-6-251, no driver of any motor vehicle shall operate the vehicle upon the public streets, highways, public or private driveways, airport runways, or parking lots in such a manner as to create a danger to persons or property by intentionally and unnecessarily causing the vehicle to move in a zigzag or circular course or to gyrate or spin around, except to avoid a collision or injury or damage; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. 32-4-92, a municipality may regulate and control the use of the public roads on its municipal street system and on portions of the county road systems extending within the corporate limits of the municipality; and
WHEREAS, street racing and reckless driving exhibitions have been on the rise in cities across the country and are an immediate threat to public safety and a nuisance to neighborhoods and commuters using various modes of transportation; and
WHEREAS, multiple deaths of innocent children have occurred in other cities due to the engagement in street racing and reckless driving exhibitions; and
WHEREAS, cities across the country, such as San Diego, Sacramento, Kansas City, Albuquerque, and Milwaukee have enacted ordinances to prohibit street racing exhibitions, including the prohibition of non-driver or spectator participation therein; and
WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta has experienced an increasing occurrence of such activities over the past year; and
WHEREAS, this issue has caused multiple occurrences of public streets being shut down and made impassable, as well as damage to private properties; and
WHEREAS, in addition to prohibiting and penalizing street racing and reckless driving exhibitions, it is also necessary to prohibit and penalize the organization of, and participation in, such activities, which draw large numbers of spectators, causing a disturbance of the peace and a threat to public safety; and
WHEREAS, establishing an ordinance to prohibit the organization of and participation in street racing exhibitions, as defined herein, would enable the Atlanta Police Department to more effectively combat the occurrence of such behavior; and
WHEREAS, in the interests of public safety and ensuring the well-being of motorists and pedestrians, it is necessary to amend the City of Atlanta’s Code of Ordinances to prohibit the organization of, and participation in, street racing and reckless driving exhibitions.
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA, HEREBY ORDAINS as follows:
SECTION 1: That Chapter 150, (Traffic and Vehicles) Article III, (General Rules of Vehicle Operation) Section 150-73 shall be added and entitled “Non-Driver Participation In Street Racing and Reckless Driving Exhibitions”, as follows:
Sec. 150-73. - Non-Driver Participation In Street Racing and Reckless Driving Exhibitions
(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall mean:
Illegal street racing and reckless driving exhibition means a motor vehicle speed contest using public highways, streets or rights of way in violation of applicable motor vehicle and traffic laws, including without limitation, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186, § 40-6-251 and § 40-6-390. Illegal street racing and reckless driving exhibitions may include, but are not limited to, situations in which: (1) a group of motor vehicles or individuals has arrived at a location for the purpose of participating in the event; (2) a group of individuals has gathered on private property open to the general public without the consent of the owner, operator, or agent thereof for the purpose of participating in the event; (3) one or more individuals has impeded the free public use of a public street, sidewalk or highway by actions, words, or physical barriers for the purpose of conducting the event; (4) two or more vehicles have lined up with motors running for an illegal motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition of speed; (5) one or more drivers is revving his engine or spinning his tires in preparation for the event; or (6) an individual is stationed at or near one or more motor vehicles serving as a race starter.
Organizer means any individual who in any manner knowingly takes part in the planning, organization, coordination, facilitation, advertising or sharing of the location for any such illegal street race, or collect moneys in connection with an illegal street racing exhibition, as defined herein;
Participant means any individual who is knowingly present at an illegal street racing exhibition for the purpose of actively taking part in the event, through conduct including riding in a race vehicle as a passenger; assisting the organizers and/or drivers in carrying out or promoting the event; or exchanging money or anything of value with any driver, car owner, or other participant in connection with the event. For the purposes of this section, a person who is a mere bystander, passerby, or observer not aware of the illegal activity shall not be deemed a participant.
(1) No person shall knowingly act as an organizer of an illegal street racing or reckless driving exhibition, as defined herein.
(2) Except as provided elsewhere in this chapter, no person shall knowingly act as a participant in an illegal street racing or reckless driving exhibition, as defined herein.
(1) Violations of Sec. 150-73 (b) shall be punished by a minimum fine of $1000.00 and court costs or imprisonment for not more than six months (6) months, or by any one (1) or more of these punishments, subject to all limitations contained in the charter of the city or applicable state law.
(2) Any motor vehicle used in illegal street racing or driving as defined in this ordinance may be removed and impounded by police to the extent authorized by applicable state law, including, without limitation, O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-206, or pursuant to a warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. An impounded vehicle may be held in impound for not less than 30 days or final adjudication of the case, to the maximum extent allowed under state law.
This section shall not apply to licensed or duly authorized racetracks, drag strips, or other designated areas set aside by proper authorities for such purposes.
SECTION 2: The amendment set forth in this ordinance shall become effective immediately upon approval, with notifications sent to the Chief of Police, who shall distribute this ordinance and a call for enforcement to all sworn employees of the City of Atlanta Police Department.
SECTION 3: That all ordinances or parts thereof in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of the conflict.