There’s a growing problem with evening and night street racing on Santa Teresa, from around First Street north toward Christopher High. Usually beginning at 10 p.m. or so, the noise from Santa Teresa becomes ridiculous: squealing tires, loud music, shouting (between “contestants”?) and engine revving as they wait for the green light at Mantelli that seems to be the starting line. Our property backs up to Santa Teresa and we’re accustomed to the normal traffic sounds, which are bearable. This racing though is so loud and so potentially disastrous that something needs to be done. There were even large circular “doughnut” tire marks noted one morning a couple weeks ago at the corner of Mantelli and Poplar. I filed a non-emergency police report about this several months ago, but the races continue. One of these days, this is going to lead to tragedy. Anything you can do to help will be appreciated by all in the neighborhood, as well as pedestrians and passing motorists.
Red Phone is more than anxious to have this reckless behavior stopped, good caller. RP contacted Gilroy Police Department public information officer Jason Smith for help and information on the street racing.
RP asked Smith if there was anything the police department could do to stop the street racing. Smith replied, “This section of Santa Teresa Boulevard can be popular among racers because it’s a long, straight stretch of roadway with two lanes in each direction, and which the police department routinely patrols. Because we cannot be everywhere all the time, we encourage the community to be our eyes and ears and report any such activity as soon as safely possible.”
Asked about the police report filed by the caller, Smith did some research and said, “I was unable to find the call you referenced” even though RP provided the name of the caller to Smith.
So, who is street racing? Smith said, “Anyone can be a street racer. The average age range for the racing population is estimated between 18 and 24 years of age.”
RP asked if there was an educational program to stop teenagers from street racing. Smith replied, “Education should always start in the home. Parents should talk with their teenagers about the realistic dangers of street racing. Parents should let their teenagers know how bad choices behind the wheel can forever change the lives of everyone involved. Most of the educational programs deal with safe driving and not specifically street racing. From time to time, the CHP will host a teen driving course that helps teenagers and their parents understand the responsibilities associated with driving a motor vehicle.”
Asked what laws were being broken, Smith listed the following: Engaging in a speed contest, reckless driving, exhibition of speed, and equipment violations due to illegal vehicle modifications.
Smith also listed the penalties for breaking the law: In California, a conviction for engaging in a “speed contest” (defined as a motor vehicle racing against another vehicle or being timed by a clock or other device) consists of a fine up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, up to 90 days in jail, or both. The perpetrator’s license may be suspended or restricted for up to six months. A police officer may impound a vehicle when the driver is arrested for engaging in a speed contest, for reckless driving, or for an exhibition of speed (for example, screeching or peeling of tires due to hard acceleration). A vehicle can also be impounded for up to 30 days.
With the information provided by the good caller, the police department will hopefully stop these street racers. Meanwhile, the public can and should report these incidents to the police.