The California Highway Patrol is receiving additional help from the federal government in its continuing efforts to reduce reckless driving, illegal street racing and street takeovers.
The CHP has been awarded a $2 million grant by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which it says will be used to decrease the number of fatal and injury traffic crashes caused by the illegal and dangerous activities.
The grant will bolster the more than $5.5 million that the CHP has already been allotted by the state government in these crackdown initiatives.
CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee says the grant will be used for community outreach efforts and enforcement measures to “protect the safety and well-being of California’s communities and ensure our roadways remain safe for everyone.”
In 2021, CHP officers responded to more than 7,300 incidents of illegal street takeovers across the state, with as many as 123,000 people participating in the activity. In 2022, that number was nearly halved, CHP said, but significant work is still needed.
Speeding and street racing also remain a concern of the CHP.
“The number of incidents resulting from unsafe driving behaviors, including motorists exceeding 100 mph on state highways, illegal street racing and sideshow activities, and speed-related crashes are occurring at a staggering pace,” CHP officials said in a news release.
From January 2022 to June 2023, “enhanced speed enforcement operations” have been conducted on the state’s vital thoroughfares, and more than 31,000 tickets were issued to people who were caught driving over 100 mph.
The CHP and other law enforcement agencies have increased their focus on these dangerous activities, establishing task forces to crack down on the problem and have launched social media campaigns which they say are raising awareness about the dangers and risks of street racing and reckless driving behavior.
“Illegal street racing and sideshows are not just reckless activities; they are potential tragedies in the making. These events put lives at risk, not only for the participants but also for innocent bystanders,” Duryee said.
This $2 million grant will support these continued efforts through September 2024, according to the CHP.