What is California AB 3 and How Does it Impact Illegal Street Racing?

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California AB 3 Increases Penalties for Street Racing/Sideshows

California AB 3 Increases Penalties for Street Racing/Sideshows

Jan 8, 2022

Illegal street racing has become synonymous with Southern California over the past couple of years. But the issue has also impacted countless residents throughout the state – to such an extent that lawmakers have taken steps which they hope will help curb future incidents.

A new bill – California AB 3 – directly addresses the issue of illegal street racing or “sideshow” events. Below we will look at the bill in greater detail and offer information on how to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim if you or someone you know has been impacted by illegal street racing.

What is California Assembly Bill 3 (AB 3)?

California AB 3 is a new piece of legislation which increases penalties for violations related to illegal street racing or “takeovers.” Additionally, the bill clearly defines an illegal street racing sideshow event and codifies that definition into state law.

Under existing law, anyone engaging in or abetting illegal street racing can be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days as well as a fine of up to $500.

With the passage of AB 3, the courts are now authorized to impose the aforementioned penalties as well as suspend a violator’s driver’s license for between 90 days and six months. Said license suspension can also entail restricting the operation of a motor vehicle for the purposes of one’s employment.

However, the courts must take into consideration an individual’s family, medical, or personal “hardships” when deciding whether to suspend or restrict a driver’s license.

Although the bill was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in October and officially took effect on January 1, enforcement of the increased penalties for illegal street racing will not commence until July 1, 2025.

Furthermore, AB 3 defines a sideshow event as:

An event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators.

California Assembly Member Vince Fong authored AB 3. According to Fong, the California Highway Patrol responded to more than 25,000 illegal street racing or sideshow event calls in 2020 (up from more than 3,500 the previous year).

For the full text of California AB 3, click here.

Numerous Illegal Street Racing Tragedies in California

Illegal street racing events have caused countless preventable injuries and fatalities in recent years. Some notable examples of illegal street racing tragedies include:

  • In September 2020, Austin Dubinetskiy, a Sacramento State student, was run over by a vehicle during a sideshow in Sacramento’s Natomas neighborhood. The incident reportedly caused Dubinetskiy to suffer brain damage, internal bleeding, a broken pelvis, and multiple bone fractures.
  • In 2013, an illegal street race in Wilmington, California, led to the death of a 16-year-old girl – Valentina d’Alessandro.
  • In May 2019, 23-year-old Bethany Hogan was killed in an illegal street racing accident on a residential street. The vehicle was reportedly traveling at over 80 miles per hour. The victim’s brother was also seriously injured in the accident – his teeth knocked out and part of his skull having to be removed.
  • In February 2021, a high-speed crash believed to be a street racing incident led to the death of 32-year-old Monique Munoz. The force of the crash reportedly split Munoz’s vehicle in half, and her body had to be cut free from the wreckage.
  • Last month, a USC student was killed in a pedestrian crosswalk near the school’s campus. Two vehicles were believed to be street racing when the pedestrian accident occurred, with one striking and killing the 21-year-old student.

Street Racing on the Rise in Southern California

Reports of street racing incidents have been steadily increasing since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In early 2020, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) official told local KTLA that, “street racing and takeovers have become a huge problem in the San Fernando Valley and L.A. area.”

“We are currently deploying additional officers to combat these street racing issues and we are now utilizing our Street Racing Task Force as well as our surrounding law enforcement agencies,” the CHP official added.

There’s not a weekend that goes by where there’s not street racing,” AB 3 author, Assemblyman Vince Fong, told FOX 2 KTVU.

Illegal sideshows are devastating families,” Fong told Bakersfield.com. “They are claiming innocent lives in communities throughout the state of California. They are creating serious risk for our youth.

When discussing the importance of AB 3 with local ABC 10, Fong also noted that the tragedies surrounding illegal street racing and takeovers are “100% preventable.”

Injured in a Street Racing or Sideshow Event?

Illegal street racing or sideshow events can result in catastrophic injuries as well as fatalities. When a driver engages in a street racing event, they are committing an act of negligence under the law. Accordingly, victims of illegal street racing or takeover events may be able to recover financial compensation via a personal injury or wrongful death civil lawsuit.

If you’ve been injured in a street racing accident, you may be faced with a long period of recovery as well as numerous burdens like lost wages or lost earning capacity. By filing a personal injury civil claim, you can pursue the recovery of multiple financial damages.

Some common damages recovered in personal injury claims include:

  • Hospital expenses
  • Medical care bills (including physical therapy and equipment)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life

When a victim is tragically killed in a street racing or sideshow event, the surviving family members may bring what’s known as a wrongful death civil claim. A wrongful death lawsuit can be a means of recovering a number of damages, such as:

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

  • Funeral of burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of insurance
  • Loss of pension
  • Loss of consortium

If you or someone you know has been impacted by illegal street racing, contact Dordulian Law Group (DLG) today for a free and no obligation consultation at 818-322-4056. Our team of experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are available to answer any question you may have about your legal rights or filing a claim.

DLG has successfully recovered more than $100,000,000 for injured clients like you while maintaining a 98% success record. We’re here for you when you need experienced legal representation – the kind that will ensure you recover the maximum financial damages award you deserve.

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