February 2, 2022
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
SALT LAKE CITY — Today, Salt Lake City Police Department Chief Mike Brown testified in support of Senate Bill 53, which would increase penalties for people engaged in speed racing events.
A copy of Chief Brown’s full submitted written testimony can be obtained by clicking here.
“Without immediate action by Utah legislators, those knowingly participating in and viewing illegal street racing events will become more brazen. We cannot allow our streets to be overtaken by a criminal element whose intent is to turn rural and neighborhood streets into illegal and potentially deadly dragstrips,” Chief Brown said.
The tragedy of street racing events remains on the minds of the women and men of the Salt Lake City Police Department who worked April 18, 2021. On that night, officers learned about a serious crash at 2948 West 900 South.
Through the investigation, the Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team determined that during a street racing event, a vehicle driven by a 25-year-old man did a U-turn into a vehicle driven by a 19-year-old man racing his vehicle down the roadway. The impact caused catastrophic injuries to the driver and despite the heroic efforts of our first responders, he died at a local hospital.
Curbing illegal street racing events commands vast amounts of resources – resources the city does not have while simultaneously trying to prevent other crimes and/or responding to quality of life issues for the city’s visitors and residents alike.
The Salt Lake City Police Department has discovered the deployment of steel construction plates on the roadway to be a great inhibitor of street racing. While this is a useful tool, it is not all encompassing or without difficulty. Logistical and financial limitations prevent widespread and consistent deployment.
“Allowing street racing events to go unchecked will erode the community safety we hold dear. In 2020, the Salt Lake City Police Department saw a dramatic increase in calls for service for illegal street racing. Calls for service rose from 71 in 2019 to 409 in 2020. That is a 467% increase in just one year. Our calls for service remained at an abnormally high level during 2021 – a reality law enforcement across the country experienced,” Chief Brown said.