TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill, S-797, sponsored by Senator Nicholas J. Sacco, to impose penalties for a first-time drag racing offense to a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and possible imprisonment for up to 18 months.
The bill passed 39-0 and now goes to the Assembly.
“Drag racers on public highways often end up dead in high speed crashes, but they also endanger innocent bystanders,” said Senator Sacco, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Current first offense penalties for drag racing are fines ranging from $25 to $100.
Second offenses for drag racing would carry penalties under Senator Sacco’s bill of from $1,000 to $2,000. Currently, second offenses for drag racing call for fines of between $100 and $200.
“Earlier this year, my home town of North Bergen had a drag racing incident which led to the death of the two teenage drivers and a 79-year old woman who just happened to be nearby,” Senator Sacco said. “Unfortunately, too many young people have had to learn the hard way that a public highway used for drag racing doesn’t have the safety features of a professional track.”
“We would like to see the penalties (in this bill) left to the discretion of the judge, but we believe the threat of fines and jail time sanctions will serve as an effective deterrent,” said Senator Sacco, D-Bergen and Passaic. “There’s been a wave of unfortunate incidents involving drag racing, but the games should end because too many people are getting killed or maimed for life.”
Senator Sacco said law enforcement personnel have reported a sharp increase in drag racing incidents, often with adult supervision.