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No Magic Bill for Street Racing

In Annapolis, as legislators returned to the State House for the week, many were talking about the illegal street racing accident Saturday in Accokeek that left eight men dead.

A House committee will hear testimony tomorrow for a bill proposed last month by the Maryland Department of Transportation to allow local jurisdictions to use cameras to enforce speed limits. The accident could provide momentum in the legislature to pass the speed cameras bill.

Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. said he believes there is little lawmakers could do to enhance enforcement of street racing.

"Everybody always wants to throw laws at it, but some of it may be better enforced by a coordiated effort between the local law enforcement jurisdictions and the State Police," Bohanan said.

"It's not like we haven't known this is going on," said Bohanan, who represents a rural Southern Maryland district where many residents are frequent spectators at nighttime street races. "I think ramping up
enforcement is a lot quicker rather than searching for the magic bill to address it."

Philip Rucker

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 19, 2008; 6:16 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Coming Up in Maryland Politics
Next: Moco Sets Special Election Dates


I agree with Bohanan. There are plenty of laws on the books dealing with this. Engaging in a speed contest is already against the law on a public highway. The very day the Post ran the story of this accident, they ran a feature article about NASCAR racing. There are high-speed dangerous police chases weekly in St. Mary's, Charles and Calvert counties. There are drag strips in Southern Maryland. I used to shake the hands of voters at Budd's Creek. Open up one of the drag strips on weekend evenings and let them go at it where it is safe and the spectators are walled or wired off.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | February 19, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

It's refreshing to see a politician actually get to the heart of the problem, enforcement, rather than take the typical knee-jerk reaction and pass a new bill to make something that is already illegal, "more" illegal.

Posted by: M Street | February 19, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur (D-20) is neutral in the presidential race according to MSNBC (and Maryland Politics Watch) and a Clinton supporter according to the Washington Blade. Will Del. Mizeur vote with or against her district?

Heather Mizeur is not just a delegate from District 20 but a superdelegate by virtue of her service on the Democratic National Committee as an elected member from Maryland.

Statewide, Obama won 60% of the vote compared to just 36% for Clinton. In District 20, represented by Heather Mizeur, voters supported Obama even more strongly, giving him 64% with only 35% for Clinton.

Last month, Mizeur said deciding who to support was tricky because one was bound to alienate one side:

[Mizeur] acknowledged that if she were to support Obama or Clinton, there could be some unhappy Democrats in her district, the ones who support the candidate that she didn't endorse.

Every superdelegate faces this same quandary: alienating the Democrats who elect them and with whom they must work. "People are very much divided," said Mizeur.

However, now it is clear that both her district and her state are not evenly divided but support Obama over Clinton by a margin of over 20 points.

So I imagine that I am not the only one wondering how Del. Mizeur plans to vote at the Democratic National Convention.

Delegate Heather Mizeur do the right the thing and promise to vote for Barrack Obama TODAY. We are watching.

Posted by: Angry Takoma Park Resident | February 19, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Bohanan. Enforce the laws we already have. Every time a tragedy occurs, legislators think they should jump in and look like they're doing something when all they're really doing is cutting into the few liberties we have left. My advice to law enforcement officials would be to stop and think whenever they see tire marks in the middle of road that look as if they belong on an airport runway.

Posted by: So. MD Resident | February 19, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

What nobody understands is that these people need places to go, to show, to be, and to enjoy. was trying to do that, and the fewer number of tickets and fatalities during megameet events in 2005, 2006 proved that beyond any question. Yet VADOT shut them down completely. See discussion and more information on, which has been covering DC underground street racing for years.

Posted by: wild bill | February 28, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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