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For months, Channel 2 Action News has reported on an increase in street racing across metro Atlanta.
Those who have been hurt by racers want stiffer penalties, including for offenders to lose their driver’s licenses forever.
Channel 2′s Tom Regan spoke with an Atlanta City Councilwoman who is trying to help make that a reality.
Councilwoman Keisha Waites is backing proposed legislation called Erica’s Law.
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It’s named after Erica Pines, a woman who suffered life-changing injuries when her car was hit by a driver racing another on a busy metro Atlanta highway.
“I heard this whirring noise and it looked like a bullet train coming towards me,” Pines recalled.
She was merging from I-75 onto I-285 in July when another car came across the highway and slammed into her car.
“Before I knew it, he hit me, slammed into the wall and I started spinning,” she described.
Pines’ ankle was crushed in the crash and she is barely able to stand or walk. She has had three surgeries so far and her medical bills are over $300,000.
“I’m looking at two ankle replacements. I’m looking at arthritis and we’re also looking at mobility at about 50%,” she said.
The 22-year-old driver who hit her was not arrested but was ticketed for reckless driving and failure to maintain lane.
“We need tougher penalties to deter and discourage individuals from behaving and driving in a way that is reckless,” Councilwoman Waites said.
If Erica’s Law is passed, drivers caught street racing, doing doughnuts or speeding over 100 miles would face a hefty license suspension: five years for a first offense and a life suspension for a third offense.
“If we stiffen the penalties, this could be the deterrent,” Waites said.
Waites told Regan that she already has the support of two state lawmakers in her efforts to toughen penalties.
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