News Culture

California City Passes Bill to Permanently Seize Cars Caught in Sideshows

Losing your car for a lifetime doesn't seem like such a good deal for doing donuts in the middle of an intersection.

A suburb of Los Angles will combat sideshows—or street takeovers—with some of the most stringent laws in the United States. Pico Rivera’s City Council on Tuesday initially passed a local ordinance allowing police to permanently confiscate vehicles used in illegal shows or street racing. Spectators within 500 feet of the sideshows can be fined up to $2,000 for watching the event (500 feet is about two city blocks), or even preparing for one. The new ordinance may become permanent in 30 days.

“This proposed ordinance and enforcement options will provide the City with additional tools to address the issue of illegal street takeovers, deter such activities, and ensure that the roadways in Pico Rivera remain safe for everyone,” Councilman John Garcia said in a statement. “By taking action, we are sending a strong message that illegal street takeovers will not be tolerated in Pico Rivera and that the safety and well-being of its residents and visitors are paramount to the City Council.”

California has enacted increasingly tougher penalties for sideshows, including a state law passed last year that would charge a driver with vehicular manslaughter if a spectator was killed during a sideshow or illegal street race. California then added parking lots and other off-street locations as prohibited areas for the spectacles. Also passed last year, California could suspend driver’s licenses of anyone participating in a sideshow or street race, above any penalties for reckless driving. 

The Pico Rivera ordinance is especially tough because it empowers police to effectively confiscate a car forever if it’s part of a sideshow. What’s more, the owner doesn’t need to be the driver; police can confiscate the car if the driver is a family member of the owner or lives at the same address. Pico Rivera’s ordinance has already attracted attention from other nearby California municipalities so, you know, cut the crap, people. 

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