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‘You can kill someone’: Central Florida leaders ramp up efforts to curb illegal street racing

ORLANDO, Fla. — Officials in Central Florida are getting more complaints about street racing than ever before.

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They are ramping up efforts nationwide to curb illegal street racing and create new legislation.

“You can kill someone. You could take someone’s life away,” said Lt. Tara Crescenzi, with Florida Highway Patrol.

Crescenzi said FHP started tracking a rise in street racing at the very start of the pandemic and now two years later, “we are still having a huge issue with street racing in Central Florida.”

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It’s happening nationwide. People have been hurt and lives have been lost.

Investigators believe movies and television shows have glorified illegal street racing in recent years.

When the early pandemic shutdowns led to empty streets, investigators said drivers decided to pull dangerous stunts in real life.

Event though traffic is back to normal, the street racing continues.

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In Georgia, the governor signed a bill that requires 10 days of jail time for all drag racing convictions. Drivers who are convicted a third time within five years will have to forfeit their vehicles.

Similar legislation is being discussed in Arizona, New York and other states.

“We want to express to drivers that it’s unsafe not only to them but occupants in their vehicles and all other traffic on our roads,” Crescenzi said.

State Senator Linda Stewart of Orlando co sponsored a bill seeking harsher penalties against illegal street racing, spectators and anyone filming or recording a race. That bill died in committee last month.

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For now, FHP said that if you see something, dial 911 or *FHP (*347).

Across the country, illegal street racing is often hard to track.

Some officers may categorize it as reckless driving, excessive speeding or another offense.

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