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Atlanta officials could ask for state help with rash of street racing

Temporary barriers cut part of Edgewood Avenue into just two lanes. (Credit: Sean Keenan)

Temporary barriers cut part of Edgewood Avenue into just two lanes. (Credit: Sean Keenan)

By Sean Keenan

New city laws and transportation infrastructure adjustments haven’t curbed Atlanta’s rash of street racing and stunt driving, so municipal officials are considering calling in the Georgia General Assembly for help. 

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council is expected to discuss legislation that would urge policymakers at the Gold Dome to amend state laws “to allow vehicles used in a street race or exhibition of speed to be temporarily seized by local authorities and to further allow for the permanent forfeiture of vehicles where a driver has a prior conviction for certain serious driving offenses, such as reckless driving.”

The proposal comes on the heels of an ordinance the city council adopted in August, which gave Atlanta Police Department officers the authority to charge “non-driver participants with offenses related to street racing” — an effort to deter people from encouraging such behavior.

That previously passed legislation, though, authorized city cops to seize and hold vehicles used in races and illegal car meet-ups  only if the state legislature amended the law to allow it. 

The new proposal also follows efforts by the city’s transportation department that brought barriers and other traffic-calming devices to problem areas, such as Old Fourth Ward’s Edgewood Avenue, a bar strip that’s been scarred with tire tracks and litter after countless weekend street parties.

The transportation infrastructure initiatives seemed to tamp down the difficulties with local speed demons and stunt drivers, officials said, although the mischief appears to have simply adapted or relocated lately.

(Header image, via Sean Keenan: Edgewood Avenue is marked by tire tracks.)

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