With Governor’s Signature, Ryan’s Law Becomes Reality

SB 1472 pushes criminal prosecution of extreme speeding, sideshows, street-racing

November 4, 2022

Sacramento, CA- SB 1472- Ryan’s law, set to take effect January 1, 2023, will give more tools to prosecutors who seek justice for deaths caused by egregiously hazardous driving. This legal change, named after Ryan Koeppel, an Encino teenager killed by a repeat extreme speeder, adds speeding 100+ mph, street racing, and participating in a side show to the definition of gross negligence. Thereby increasing the penalties for fatalities caused by these activities and forcing District Attorneys across the state to recognize the seriousness of these crimes.

“Part of justice is deterrent and part is about morality” said Senator Stern. “When law treats reckless driving, street racing, and sideshow deaths as though they are just another traffic crash, we knew the law needed to be changed”.

The California Highway Patrol, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Streets are for Everyone, The Connor Lynch Foundation, Street Racing Kills, the office of LA City Council Member Bob Blumenfield, Senator Stern, and the Koeppel Family spoke to the press today as a united front supporting the change and its anticipated effect in reducing the lives lost to dangerous driving.

“Far too frequently, street racing and illegal sideshows devastate families, harm innocent bystanders, and cut short young lives,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills). “Communities in the San Fernando Valley and across California are sick and tired of this reckless behavior. This important piece of legislation will crack down on dangerous activity and help to save lives.”

“We are grateful to have the Senator Stern’s help to address the growing crisis of speeding and street takeovers, especially in the West Valley. Councilmember Blumenfield has allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund a district-specific LAPD Street Racing Task Force and while we’ve seen progress, it will take a partnership between the state and city to change laws so these criminals will be prosecuted. Too many people treat cars like toys and it’s imperative to send a clear message that we will not stand by while people are dying on the streets of Los Angeles.”

Reckless driving across the state has only grown in prevalence and severity throughout California. There were an estimated 3,246 traffic fatalities across the state during the first nine months of 2021, a 17% increase from the same time period the previous year

According to LAPD data, in the first half of 2021, there were 500 reported sideshows in the city of Los Angeles, an increase of 205 sideshows compared to the same time in 2020. However, street safety advocates are coming together to celebrate SB 1472 as a major step toward keeping our communities out of harm’s way.

Carin Koeppel notes that “today is a victory in the fight to make California streets safer for everyone”

Jeri Dye Lynch of the Connor Lynch Foundation explains that “SB 1472 is another tool in our arsenal to combat what we now call traffic violence and it brings us a little closer to meeting Los Angeles’ Vision Zero Goal. While we are a long way off from achieving this vision, we are, nevertheless, taking a big step forward and giving people the tools they need to penalize and stop this dangerous and, more often than not, deadly behavior.”

When asked about the importance of the bill Senator Stern answered simply that, SB 1472 serves as a reminder that “driving is not a game, and cars are not harmless toys to boost your likes on Instagram.  This is matter of life and death.”