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City of Phoenix to impound cars involved in street racing

Posted at 3:16 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 18:18:10-04

PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix will now impound cars involved in street racing as a new approach to tackling street racing in the Valley.

Phoenix police have been able to make thousands of citations over the past year, leading to hundreds of charges. Now, they’ll be able to take your car.

"It's illegal. It's dangerous. It's a danger to the individuals that are involved in street racing, danger to the community,” says Commander Brian Freudenthal, Phoenix Police Department.

Up until this point, police say heavy enforcement has been unable to stop them. Those concerns pushed Phoenix City Council to approve a new ordinance on Wednesday, allowing police to impound a car involved with street racing or reckless driving for up to 30 days.

“We've been told by the street racers flat out, the only way to truly stop them or impact them, is to impound their vehicles. This is going to give us the tool to do that,” says Commander Freudenthal.

The new ordinance is in addition to a newly created task force within the police department. It will dedicate 14 officers solely to addressing street racing as it continues to evolve.

"Maybe about six to seven vehicles would head out, four or five of them would drive really slow or block all the traffic on the freeway from behind. Then two vehicles would be up to the three vehicles side-by-side racing down the freeway, which is creating a danger for anybody that's ahead,” says Commander Freudenthal.

Commander Brian Freudenthal says they deal regularly with what’s called a “street takeover,” leading to many deaths and injuries.

“You get four to five hundred people that are out there, individuals that are out there, that will take over an intersection. The cars then, in the middle of the intersection, they drift and they do that type of driving swing,” says Commander Freudenthal.

It’s a problem that initially started in the west side of Phoenix but, has now grown citywide.

"They’ll take off and peel off and it's like thunder. It’s crazy,” says Billy Price, who lives in north Phoenix.

Complaints from residents and businesses are another big reason the city council is taking a different approach

“To me, that's enough. I’ve got two young kids and it’s just not great being around that, hearing that,” says Price.

The new ordinance goes into effect in a month.