Legislation Targeting Organized Street Racing Continues to Progress Through General Assembly

Light of a Ferrari 458

 

Legislation targeting organized street racing continues to progress through the Tennessee General Assembly.

State Representative John Gillespie (R-Memphis-HD97) and State Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon-SD24) previously introduced companion bills targeting organized street racing, HB1661 and SB1673.

The legislation introduces a new offense to the Tennessee code, aggravated reckless driving. If passed, these bills would make this new offense a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days in jail, fines up to $2,500, or both.

The House version was recommended for passage by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and then was recommended for passage by the full committee. It was then referred to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and further referred to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee, where it is on the calendar for consideration for February 16, 2022. If both the subcommittee and full House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee recommend it for passage, then it will be referred to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, who will then likely schedule it for floor consideration.

The Senate version is currently sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee, awaiting further action. It is commonplace for one chamber to wait for the other to finish their business with a particular bill before moving further through the legislative process.

The Tennessee Star previously reported that the legislation amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 55, Chapter 10, Part 2 by adding:

(a) A person commits aggravated reckless driving who: (1) Commits the offense of reckless driving, as defined in § 55-10-205; and (2) Intentionally or knowingly impedes traffic upon a public street, highway, alley, parking lot, or driveway, or on the premises of a shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex, or any other premises accessible to motor vehicles that are generally frequented by the public at large.

(b) (1) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor. (2) In addition to the penalty authorized by subdivision (b)(1), the court may asses a fine of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) to be collected as provided in § 55-10-412(b) and distributed as provided in § 55-10-412(c).

Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 55-10-412, is also amended by deleting subsection (b) and adding:

(b) The proceeds from the increased portion of the fines for driving under the influence of an intoxicant provided for in chapter 948 of the Public Acts of 1994, the additional fines for reckless driving, under § 55-10-205(d)(2), and the additional fines for aggravated driving, under SECTION 1(b)(2) shall be collected by the respective court clerks and then deposited in a dedicated county fund. This fund shall not revert to the county general fund at the end of a fiscal year but shall remain for the purposes set out in this section. For the purposes of this section, the “increased portion of the fines for driving under the influence of an intoxicant” is the first one hundred dollars ($100) collected after the initial collection of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) on a first offense, the first one hundred dollars ($100) collected after the initial collection of five hundred dollars ($500) on a second offense, and the first one hundred dollars ($100) collected after the initial collection of one thousand dollars ($1,000) on a third or subsequent offense.

Representatives Mark White (R-Memphis-HD83), Tom Leatherwood (R-Arlington-HD99), Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville-HD95), Ron M. Gant (R-Piperton-HD94), Rush Bricken (R-Tullahoma-HD47), Lowell Russell (R-Vonore-HD21), Karen D. Camper (D-Memphis-HD87), Eddie Mannis (R-Knoxville-HD18), Glen Casada (R-Franklin-HD63), Jerome Moon (R-Maryville-HD8), Michael G. Curcio (R-Dickson-HD69), Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon-HD46), Bob Freeman (D-Nashville-HD56), G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis-HD93), Jason Powell (D-Nashville-HD53), Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory-HD60), and House Majority Leader William Lamberth have co-sponsored the House version. That’s seventeen co-sponsors with twelve Republicans and five Democrats.

The legislation would take effect on July 1, 2022 if enacted into law.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]

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2 Thoughts to “Legislation Targeting Organized Street Racing Continues to Progress Through General Assembly”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Got to be the A Number Priority of this legislature. Seriously, I favor severe punishment for street racing violations BUT I have to wonder what other important (and probably more critical) pieces of legislation are being tossed aside in order to push this one with more emotional appeal.

    I have not heard a word about cutting taxes except for the outrageous professional licensing fees. And taxes negatively impact EVERYONE.

    I consider the Tennessee legislative process to be a horror film with a bad ending.

  2. Truth

    The penalty also needs to include impounding the car, and upon conviction, sold at auction or demolished. Logic being, if I committed a crime with my gun, they’d take that away. Heck, even if I legally defend myself, they’d STILL take it away for a lengthy period of time, if not, forever.

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