Bill increasing penalties for drag racing passes TN House, waiting for Gov. Lee’s signature

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — According to neighbors on Bentwood Drive in Antioch, drag racing has become an increasing problem in their neighborhood over the last year.

State and local law enforcement said it’s possible the problem has increased during the pandemic with less people on the road and more room for racing.

Jeff Kakar has a home on Bentwood Drive and said he hears drag racers both day and night.

“It’s been going on for a while. But it’s been going on a lot lately especially after like two o’clock or three o’clock in the morning,” Kakar said.

Kakar has three small children that like to go outside, so he even bought bright green signs that say “kids playing” to try to get drivers to slow down. But new legislation that passed in the Tennessee House this week could help reduce the problem.

Representative Jason Powell co-sponsored a bill that increases penalties for drag racers across the state. If signed into law, jail time could double, fines could quadruple, and drag racing would increase from a class B to a class A misdemeanor.

“People just want to enjoy their yard and their neighborhood. That’s really tough to do when you have cars racing through your neighborhood,” Powell said.

Metro Nashville Councilwoman Courtney Johnston said she is relieved the bill could soon become law after seeing an increase in drag-racing across Nashville in the last year.

“I’ve already had wrecks happen and people have died in my district. So I certainly don’t want anything else like that to happen again,” Johnston said. “Increasing these fines, increasing the punishment… I think it’s going to go a long way to making people really think twice about racing through our neighborhoods.”

The bill passed the house and senate. Now it needs Governor Bill Lee’s signature to become a law.

Tennessee lawmakers adjourned for the year on Wednesday night.

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