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  • Karen Coakley

News You Can Use June 2024




Photo credit: @PamelaBeidle on X.

Thank You Delegate Mary Lehman! Mary played the long game and did not strike out, she hit a Home Run! (Press release is below)

 

Governor Moore Inks New Bill to Curb Street Racing, Exhibition Driving Throughout Maryland

Heavier Sanctions Around the Corner on Maryland Roads for Skidding, Squealing, Smoking Tires; Swerving Vehicles, Raucous or Disturbing Loud Noise, Grinding Gears, Backfiring, Airborne Wheels, Passengers Hanging Out Windows or On Vehicle Hoods and More

 

ANNAPOLIS, May 9, 2024 - To stem the spread of dangerous, illegal racing, exhibition driving and car meetups on public roads, city centers and shopping centers, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed legislation that sharply increases the penalties for drivers and other participants arrested and convicted.

Effective June 1, the new bill mandates a court appearance by accused persons, as well as increases the points assessed to convicted violators to 8 or more, resulting in suspension or revocation of a drivers’ license. The new law also doubles the fine for participating in illegal street contests to $1,000.

Responding to mounting constituent concerns, Senator Pamela Beidle and Delegate Mary Lehman introduced parallel bills early in the 2024 Maryland General Assembly. Their respective “cross-filed” bills, “Street Racing and Exhibition Driving – Prohibited Acts, Enforcement, and Penalties,” overwhelmingly passed both the Senate (SB 442, 45-0 vote) and House of Delegates (HB 601, 129-7), and in the process subsequently combined to arrive on Governor Moore’s desk.

At a hearing earlier in the General Assembly session, Senator Beidle reported that 139 major exhibition driving incidents took place in Maryland in 2023. At another hearing, Delegate Lehman described the dangerous stunt and speed events as growing in scale and likely continuing to disrupt communities, endanger law enforcement and risk serious injury to participants and passersby trapped in street blockades.

Maryland Coalition for Roadway Safety, Inc. PO Box 7, Olney, MD 20830 (202) 468-7682

 

SafeRoadsMD

AAA Mid-Atlantic has been a long-standing proponent of the measure. Ragina Ali, the auto club’s Public and Government Affairs Manager for Maryland and Washington, D.C., also testified, “While research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that even modestly higher speeds at the time of a crash dramatically increase the chances of severe injury and death, these dangerous illegal street races amplify those risks, endangering everyone - including spectators. The reckless and irresponsible actions of those who choose to treat our roads as a racetrack result in traffic disruption and fatalities,” Ms. Ali reported. 

“Thanks to the unified willpower for road and street safety demonstrated today by our elected State officials, with the stroke of his pen, Governor Moore knocked down the ‘Welcome to Maryland’ sign for perpetrators of organized, criminal exhibition driving violence,” said John Seng, chair of the Maryland Coalition for Roadway Safety, whose group lobbied for the bills. “Maryland lawmakers decided that safety and calm on roads and in communities really matters. Continued roadway, shopping center and city center disruptions will not be tolerated. Violators will suffer significant penalties,” he said.

Following the bill-signing session, Delegate Lehman credited SafeRoadsMD advocacy in helping get the bill passed: “They rallied broad support from county and other municipal government leadership, as well as chambers of commerce and other concerned parties across Maryland. Happily, a clear majority of my colleagues were listening and agreed,” she continued, adding “And we all thank Governor Moore for continuing to take major steps in enhancing Maryland road safety.

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