Florida bill aims to help law enforcement put the brakes on illegal street racing

The street race that was witnessed by a state trooper, in south Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A new bill headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis aims to help law enforcement crack down on illegal street racing, even when they are not there to witness it.

The bill comes after street racing arrests in south Orange County that were witnessed by a state trooper who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

The trooper was riding in his patrol car, pulling up to the intersection at Orange Blossom Trail and Oak Ridge Road in the middle of the night in April, when he saw the racers take off.

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When the light turned green, the rev of the engines could be heard along Orange Blossom Trail.

Dash camera video released by FHP shows the trooper later pull over both drivers.

The racing arrests happened in Rep. Amy Mercado's district. When asked if the arrests surprised her, Mercado said, “No. It’s actually been an ongoing problem.”

Thursday night, someone who lives in east Orange County recorded two vehicles racing on Avalon Road.

Mercado said videos like these can help build a case against these drivers.

“The way the law is written, [police] have to witness [racing] with their own eyes,” Mercado said. “My legislation gives them that additional tool for them to then take that witness testimony, photography, videos and then be able to investigate and see if this was actually a race or not.”

Racing has become an issue statewide, with numbers showing law enforcement in Florida issued 772 tickets in 2018 for racing on the highway.

In Orange County, there were 93 tickets written, which is a 20 percent increase from five years earlier.

“Does it stop it completely? Probably not. But it gives them the opportunity to curb some of this,” Mercado said.

The governor's office said the governor has not received the bill yet. Once he does, he has 15 days to either sign it or veto it. If he doesn't, it automatically becomes law and goes into effect in July.