Report Title:

Highway Racing; Penalties Increased

 

Description:

Increases penalties for racing on highways.

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2339

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to transportation.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that many recent traffic accidents have been attributed to drivers engaged in racing on Hawaii's highways. There is a growing concern in the community that illegal racing is on the rise, posing an ever greater threat to innocent motorists.

There is also growing concern that racing and speeding, in general, on Hawaii's highways is out of control. Motorists have become more aware of flashy modified automobiles zipping in and out of traffic. On August 26, 2001, a woman was killed and her husband and mother were injured in an accident that was allegedly caused by an eighteen year-old man racing on H-1 freeway. Statistics provided by the Honolulu Police Department indicate that while the number of speeding citations has risen to 57,000 in 1999 from 33,000 in 1996, the average number of arrests per year has stayed the same -- averaging approximately 300 speeding arrests per year.

In response to a series of speed and racing related accidents and deaths this past summer, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has stepped up its enforcement efforts. The HPD recently stated that it would utilize a helicopter, motorcycles, unmarked police cars, extra officers and decoy racing cars to enforce speed limits and curb illegal street racing. Implementation of these new enforcement measures during the 2001 Labor Day weekend resulted in the issuance of 1,388 citations, which included 538 tickets for speeding, 8 for racing, and 34 for driving modified cars without a reconstruction permit. Despite these efforts, the legislature finds that the HPD cannot possibly catch every person illegally racing on the highways of this State, and that a further deterrent is necessary.

The purpose of this Act is to increase the penalties for illegally racing on Hawaii's highways.

SECTION 2. Section 291C-103, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (e) to read as follows:

"(e) Any person who violates this section, except subsection (d), shall be fined [not more than] at least $500 [or], but not more than $1000, and imprisoned [not more than] for at least six months, [or both.] but not more than one year, for each offense. In addition, the vehicle used by any person in the commission of a violation of this section, except subsection (d), shall be forfeited to and disposed of by the State. Any person who violates subsection (d) shall be fined not more than $500 or be sentenced to perform community service, or both."

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________