Kent Police hope new state laws in 2024 curb illegal street racing

Legislature adopted stricter laws, including impoundment of vehicles used for racing

Kent Police and city leaders hope new state laws that start Jan. 1, 2024 will help stop illegal street racing in town, such as the incident on May 21 when five men were shot and injured during a gathering of hundreds of people.

In a statement issued May 22 in response to the incident at South 180th Street and East Valley Highway near the Renton border, Kent Police said steps can be taken now and more can be done once the new laws begin.

”Illegal street racing continues to impact the valley, the region and many parts of this nation,” according to the statement. “These events have escalated with a disregard for public safety, property damage and dangerous criminal behavior. The city of Kent and the Kent Police Department have continued to strategize on ways to combat this ongoing problem.

“Our tactics have changed in response to those who promote, participate and spectate these illegal events. We will continue to aggressively leverage the current state law as well as our established city codes. These laws prohibit attending street races anywhere in the city of Kent, reckless driving, disorderly conduct and trespassing.”

Mayor Dana Ralph and Police Chief Rafael Padilla have invested a significant amount of energy and commitment on educating legislators and testifying in front of committees in Olympia for law changes like Senate Bill 5606, according to the statement.

”They are grateful for the legislators that assisted in passing this legislation,” according to the statement about the measure signed into law May 4 by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The new laws take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and provide clarification and help in impacting illegal street racing.

”These clarifications are new tools that will aid us in our enforcement of this illegal activity,” according to police.

Street racing laws

• Updates the definition of gross misdemeanor racing in RCW 46.61.530 to include drifting and other stunt driving (Drifting is the latest craze where drivers spin their vehicles in the middle of intersections, such as the May 21 incident in Kent)

• Racing is a crime on both public roadways and upon any private property that is publicly accessible

• Anyone who aids/abets illegal racing may be charged as an accomplice

• Clarifies that racing charges can be prosecuted in either the jurisdiction where racing occurred or where the event was planned, organized and promoted

• Encourages law enforcement agencies to undertake a public education campaign about the dangers and illegality of street racing

• Updates state impound laws to allow vehicles used in racing to be impounded with a 72-hour hold

• Allows for the seizure/forfeiture of racers’ vehicles upon a second or subsequent racing conviction.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

Puget Sound Fire’s Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children

Overturned military vehicle causes I-5 backup near Kent, Federal Way

Wednesday, April 10 in northbound lanes near South 272nd Street

Kent Police Blotter: March 26 to April 7

Incidents include robberies, burglaries, shooting

State Patrol seek witnesses to I-5 hit-and-run crash in Kent

Collision at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 8 along northbound I-5 near State Route 516

Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent turns profit for 2nd consecutive year

City-owned facility brings in about $600,000 in 2023

Kent Police recovered nearly 800 catalytic converters in a 2021 bust. File photo
New state legislation fights catalytic converter theft

Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on March 26 adding new regulations… Continue reading

Firefighting Diversity & Recruitment Workshop set for May 11 in Kent

Event designed to help potential candidates get jobs

Kentwood High grad’s legacy of love lives on through organ donation

Madeline Goldsmith one of 344 organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia

Flowers, framed photos, plush toys and a QR code to the GoFundMe pages of the families grace the memorial site after the March 19 crash. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.
Judge, lawyers debate low bail for Kent driver in fatal Renton crash

Judge explains reduction from $1 million to $100,000, which was posted by family of Chase Jones