Senate Bill 5606 looks to deter and further penalize illegal street racing after law enforcement agencies in Washington reported an increasing number of sometimes violent or deadly events in recent years.

As defined by the new law, “willfully comparing or contesting the relative speeds of motor vehicles” on public roadways or unauthorized off-street locations constitutes racing, even if the vehicles don’t exceed the maximum speed limit. Racing is considered reckless driving – a gross misdemeanor carrying penalties up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.

Police making an arrest have the discretion to have the offending vehicles towed and impounded. Vehicles impounded for more than 120 hours are considered abandoned. If unclaimed by owners after notification by the Department of Licensing, the vehicles can be sold at public auction. Proceeds can by used by the police agency to “improve general traffic safety” within its jurisdiction. Officers and police agencies aren’t held liable for damages in an impound is later determined to be improper, the bill states.

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