As many cities are looking for new ways to clamp down on the rampant spread of illegal street races and sideshows, San Jose is believed to be the first in the nation to make it a crime to promote or encourage them through social media.
Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and face fines of up to $1,000, six months in jail or some combination of both if they promote, instigate or encourage any such events online in the wake of a new ordinance passed by San Jose City Council this week, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
“Don’t come to San Jose — that’s the message,” said Councilmember Maya Esparza.
The new measure marks the city’s latest attempt to deter people from taking part in dangerous and reckless driving, speeding down San Jose streets and performing stunts in parking lots, especially in events that tend to attract crowds of spectators.
At least eight people, including participants and innocent bystanders, have lost their lives in recent years in suspected street racing events across San Jose. Most recently, 19-year-old Jamie Pech was killed in a crash on June 11 in South San Jose when he and the driver of another vehicle both swerved off the road and smashed into separate trees during what police believed was a street race.
“Folks should be able to go to bed at a decent hour and not have their lives disrupted at one, two, three o’clock in the morning,” Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco said during Tuesday’s meeting.