California Crackdown on Modified Cars
$5 million in federal money will fund a Sacramento, California effort to stop drivers in modified cars.
Police in Sacramento, California announced Wednesday that they would use $5 million in federal money to begin cracking down on auto enthusiasts who modify their vehicles. The money will be used to form an undercover "Drag-Net" unit to stop motorists who appear to be driving modified cars.
The concept, which originated in San Diego in 2001, has been spreading throughout California generating significant revenue for the state and local departments. In Santa Fe Springs, for example, twelve officers on Drag-Net duty issued 300 citations and impounded 50 vehicles in just one weekend. Several cities have drag-racing ordinances that allow police to auction off seized cars and keep the profits.
Under Drag-Net, San Diego officers come to train other departments how to look out for what they believe to be tell-tale signs of illegal modification such as window tinting, large spoilers, extra gauges or racing stickers. Police say this gives them probable cause to stop and inspect a vehicle and its engine compartment.
In practice, "excessive exaust noise" tickets are the most common violation. California law does not require police to measure sound levels objectively. Instead, according to the California Highway Patrol, the "citation is based on officer's judgment."
"We're looking to make a heavy impact on speeding and street racing in this area," Sacramento Police Deputy Chief Steve Segura said during a press conference with local and state officials on Del Paso Road in North Natomas.
Source: Area law enforcers to receive training to combat street racing (Sacramento Bee, 8/4/2005)