“Erica’s Law” Proposes Stricter Penalties For Street Racing, Including Revoking Driver’s Licenses for Life
Illegal street racing has become an escalating problem in major metropolitan cities, with reckless drivers speeding on public roads and simultaneously putting innocent bystanders at risk. Reaching their tipping point, the city of Atlanta is calling for harsher consequences for street racing.
Consequences of Street Racing
In the summer of 2023, Erica Pines was driving on I-285 South from I-75 South when a street racer entered her lane and collided with her SUV. Witnesses say that the driver who caused the accident was in the middle of a street race with another car.
“I slammed into a wall. I started spinning … I hit the wall and I spun out like four times” Pines told FOX 5. “Probably between a quarter of a mile and half a mile down the road.”
Pines said that she was driving to Atlanta from Cherokee County to meet with her 19-year-old cousin, whom she is also a caregiver, when the car going far beyond the speed limit slammed into her. “All I could think about was her, because I’m one of her caregivers. And I said, ‘I can’t die right now.’ That’s all it was. ‘I can’t die right now because I have an obligation to my community. I have an obligation to my family, and I have an obligation to those who love me,'” she said.
As a result of the incident, Pines’ ankle was shattered, along with a handful of cuts and bruises on her body. She has since had three surgeries, over $300k in medical bills, and has been in an Aircast boot, unable to walk. Her doctors told her that even if she walks again, she will likely regain roughly 50% of her mobility.
Meanwhile, the street racing driver managed to walk away unharmed. All they received was a citation for reckless driving and improper lane change.
Worried that punishments for illegal street racing are not harsh enough, Pines worries that this same driver and many others will likely continue this reckless behavior.
This sentiment is echoed by Atlanta City Council member Keisha Waites. “It is apparent that our current laws on the books are not working,” Waites said.
What Is Erica’s Law?
To crack down on illegal street racing, Waites has introduced a three-strikes proposal to the Georgia state legislature to introduce more severe consequences for “drag/street racing, reckless driving, or exceeding unsafe speed limits (100 mph).”
The first offense would result in a five-year suspension of one’s driver’s license. The second would carry a 10-year suspension, and the third would result in a lifetime license revocation.
Waites believes that this new law would send a clear message that street racing in the city of Atlanta won’t be tolerated and that the consequences for breaking the law are serious.
So far, Erica’s Law has passed the Public Safety and Finance committees at Atlanta City Hall, and it will move on to be proposed to the full City Council. If approved, it will then be presented to the Georgia General Assembly where it will be determined whether it will be passed into state law.