Senate Public Safety Committee Votes 4-0 to Pass SB 1472: Ryan’s Law

April 28, 2022

Sacramento, CA- In a 4 to 0 vote, the Senate Public Safety Committee voted in favor of SB 1472: Ryan’s Law. Marking a major victory in the fight to keep California’s streets safe. After moving testimony from Carin Koeppel, founder of the Koeppel foundation and mother to Ryan Koepell who was killed by a reckless driver, the votes came in to recognize and address the growing issue of extreme speeding and reckless driving.

Recent increases in local street and highway fatalities, serious injuries, and the dangers of street racing are resulting in an epidemic of reckless driving and disregard for public safety. The California DMV reports that there were over 1500 more reckless driving citations statewide in 2021 than the year before and excessive speed violations increased by 80% from 9,000 violation to over 16,000 in the same period.

Of particular concern, is the growing prevalence of street racing and sideshows across the State. The CHP reports that they responded to almost 6,000 street races and sideshows, issuing 2,500 citations statewide in 2021, and these events can cost lives. CHP also reports that street racing and sideshows have caused 264 crashes statewide in the past five years. Of those crashes, 30 have been fatal and 124 have resulted in serious injuries.

“Cars are weapons, and whether it’s a sideshow, a street race or just excessive speeding, these are not victimless crimes.” said Senator Stern.

Just last month in South San Francisco a 15-year-old passenger died after two cars raced each other and one of them lost control, striking a wall and a tree causing the teens death and major injuries to an adult passenger. This problem is knocking on all of our backdoors and until statutory changes are made, lives will continue to be needlessly lost on our roads.

By redefining gross negligence to include driving over 100 mph, participating in sideshows or exhibition of speed, and driving recklessly, the bill explicitly gives prosecutors the ability to charge the driver with a felony if that charge should fit the crime.

“I believe that through additional enforcement, public awareness and understanding one’s own personal responsibility while driving SB 1472 will save lives. SB 1472 provides a reasonable solution in law that may prevent the next tragedy from ever happening to any child, parent or loved one” stated Carin Koeppel in her testimony.