Michelle and Jordan’s Law Stiffens the Penalties for High Speed Drag Racing
The New York State Senate recently passed “Michelle and Jordan’s Law”, which is legislation to stiffen penalties for unlawful high-speed drag racing. The legislation is in response to recent tragic automobile crashes involving suspected drag racing at high speeds.
Senator Andrew Lanza, the bill’s sponsor, says that automobiles driven by reckless drivers become deadly weapons. “This bill will protect and save the lives of our young drivers, their friends and the innocent bystanders who are often harmed or even killed by unlawful high-speed car racing,” declares Lanza.
In 2008, five-year old Jordan McLean of Queens was riding in a car driven by her Aunt Claris Edwards. Travelling on 109th Avenue in Queens, a drag racing hot spot, Edwards was confronted with two cars racing at her. Their car was struck by one of the suspected drag racers and Jordan was thrown from the car and died. The suspected drag racers fled the scene.
A year earlier, 17-year old Michelle Arout was in the backseat of a Honda Accord being driven by friends. They entered into a race with other friends driving a Ford Mustang. Reaching speeds of 95mph, the driver of Michelle’s car lost control, slammed into the Ford Mustang and then smashed into a metal post. Michelle was ejected from the car and died.
Michelle and Jordan’s Law would make high-speed racing a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail. A second offense would be a class E felony with a maximum sentence of one year and one day in prison. On a second offense, a $750 fine may be levied.
Studies have shown that the faster a vehicle is travelling, the less time the driver has to react to a hazard. This drastically increases the likelihood and severity of a crash.
The Senate passed the bill 59-0; it now heads to the New York State Assembly.
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