03-12-2008, 02:22 AM
The "Mad Hamster"
Drives: '71 Camaro, '90 mx5, '71 2002
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Placerville, CA
this might be a reason that our schools are losing funding...(another thing from my Z site
California Crackdown on Modified Cars
$5 million in federal money will fund a Sacramento, California effort to stop drivers in modified cars.
Unmodified Subaru looks modifiedPolice in Sacramento, California announced Wednesday that they would use $5 million in federal money to begin cracking down on auto enthusiasts who modify their vehicles. The money will be used to form an undercover "Drag-Net" unit to stop motorists who appear to be driving modified cars.
The concept, which originated in San Diego in 2001, has been spreading throughout California generating significant revenue for the state and local departments. In Santa Fe Springs, for example, twelve officers on Drag-Net duty issued 300 citations and impounded 50 vehicles in just one weekend. Several cities have drag-racing ordinances that allow police to auction off seized cars and keep the profits.
Under Drag-Net, San Diego officers come to train other departments how to look out for what they believe to be tell-tale signs of illegal modification such as window tinting, large spoilers, extra gauges or racing stickers. Police say this gives them probable cause to stop and inspect a vehicle and its engine compartment.
In practice, "excessive exhaust noise" tickets are the most common violation. California law does not require police to measure sound levels objectively. Instead, according to the California Highway Patrol, the "citation is based on officer's judgment."
Drivers of stock vehicles that come from the factory with some of the characteristics of modified cars have experienced harassment under this provision. One such motorist complained on an enthusiast website that the California Highway Patrol was using these programs to make "driving while Asian" a crime, pointing out that the department's own website has several pages dedicated to Asian involvement in street racing and "vehicle modification."
Those receiving a vehicle modification "fix-it" ticket must visit a California Bureau of Automobile Repair office and pay a $35 fee to have their car inspected. If the car fails, a judge can impose another fine of up to $2000 for failing to meet California emissions requirements.
California Expands Crackdown on Modified Cars
California agency issued $4.4 million in local grants for a modified car ticketing campaign that generates more than $10 million in revenue for the state.
Mitsubishi EvoThe California Office of Traffic Safety issued $4.4 million in grants last Friday to three law enforcement agencies to fund an ongoing crackdown on vehicles with "illegal" modifications. The Highway Patrol (CHP) received the largest of the grants at $2,980,587. Ontario police collected $620,000 and Irwindale police $321,044. The grants are designed to fund training and support for efforts to reduce illegal street racing. In practice, the effort has focused on issuing traffic citations to owners of modified cars with the state government collecting far more in citation revenue than has been handed out in grants.
The California Highway Patrol alone issued 101,553 citations worth $10.5 million in 2004 for modified car infractions, according to information the CHP provided to theNewspaper. These tickets were neither moving violations nor safety related. Instead, they included driving with an unapproved exhaust or intake system, using a loud stereo and driving without the rear license plate illuminated. The vast majority of citations, 82,220, were given for dark window tinting while the second greatest number, 8919, were given for driving without a front plate.
Enthusiasts complain much of the law enforcement effort has been directed at cars manufactured in Asia, particularly Hondas and Acuras. Owners of vehicles inspired by cars that race in the World Rally Championship such as the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STi also have produced citations that showed the owner of an entirely stock vehicle had been stopped and accused of illegal modifications. In April, Los Angeles police took down the license plate numbers of Evo owners who had merely gathered to swap stories and share the experiences they had in owning similar vehicles. The police then mailed each participant an accusatory letter, even though no law had been broken and no resident had been disturbed by the friendly meeting.
"These vehicles were either gathering in preparation to race, or were actually involved in street racing." Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton wrote. "...We are prepared to prosecute all parties to the full extent of the law."
Police in Riverside and San Bernardino counties last week also generated publicity by inviting television news crews to film four customized automobiles, including a 1993 Honda Civic and a 1998 Acura Integra, being crushed after having been seized over accusations that the cars were illegally modified. Officials claimed that some of the parts used, despite purchase receipts, may have been stolen. The crushing took place without any of the accusations being proved in a court of law.
this one is from canada but the stats are from the US fatality analysis reporting system (FARS) [won't c+p, article is kinda long]: