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New Driving Laws May be Passed

photograph from Health & Safety story

(8/22/2006)

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A city council is considering a new law. The law will help make parking lots safer. It will allow police to ticket drivers in mall parking lots. The target of the law would be drivers who perform car tricks or don’t obey rules in parking lots. Police believe that reckless driving in these areas is a big problem in their town. They hope the council will pass the new law.

Some teens and young adults do not follow the rules in mall parking lots. They drive dangerously and perform stunts. Drivers gather in the lots to put on trick shows called “sideshows.” The drivers squeal their tires. They spin donuts. They also do a dangerous stunt called “ghostriding.” Drivers set their car in gear and let it roll through the parking lot. They walk alongside it, or jump on the hood. These tricks are very dangerous to the many people who watch the shows. In one city, a spectator was killed watching a show in a mall parking lot.

The shows also damage the mall property and impact sales. Sometimes as many as 50 cars join in the shows. The tires leave marks on the asphalt. Also, they park in fire lanes, roll through stop signs and crosswalks and play their radios too loudly.

Police feel that sideshows and reckless driving have become a big public safety problem. Unfortunately, police could not do much about it to stop it. This is because drivers used private parking lots for their shows. Traffic laws do not apply to private property. All police can do is tell the crowds and drivers to leave. It doesn’t help, because they just go to another parking lot and continue.

Police spoke to the city council about the problem and asked them for help. If the law is passed, police could write tickets to drivers who break the law. Police could only enforce the law if property owners give them written permission. Many shoppers are in favor of the new law. They don’t like to shop at the mall now because of all the chaos. They think this would help make it a safer place.

(This was adapted from an original story provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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