Breaking News
More () »

Opinion | Here's how Shelby County should crack down on drag racing | Richard Ransom

ABC24 Anchor Richard Ransom shares how he thinks Shelby County should crack down on its drag racing problem.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Thursday's Ransom Note, Shelby County DA Amy Weirich said on Tuesday she'd ask state lawmakers to make it legal for cops to seize the cars of drag racers and other reckless drivers on the spot, rather than wait for a conviction, because convictions are so hard to get.

The thinking is if these dangerous drivers know their cars could be taken from them right away, they'd think twice before driving like fools on our streets and highways.

Tuesday night, I proposed another idea: start ticketing drivers with modified mufflers.

I heard from many of you saying other cities do just that and don't have nearly the issues Memphis has with drag racing and reckless driving. Plus, their streets are just quieter. Turns out, the law is already on the books.

Tennessee Code 55-9-202 states: "No person shall drive a motor vehicle on any road, street, or highway unless the motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke". 

That might just be the least enforced law in Tennessee. But, it's only a class C misdemeanor, so the fine is just $50. 

When I asked DA Weirich about pushing lawmakers to make the muffler law a class B misdemeanor for a $500 fine, the response was lukewarm. Her spokesman said she doesn't see it as a practical solution.

"We always hope enhancement will be a deterrent to crime, but it's still an enforcement issue," she said. 

It's an enforcement issue that no one's enforcing. 

Half of what makes it fun to drive like you're in a Fast and Furious movie is making the most noise possible. If you crack down on that, you might just save lives.

I'd love to hear what you think. Join the conversation by email, Facebook or Twitter.


Before You Leave, Check This Out