- Published: Monday, July 18, 2022 02:19 PM
CHICAGO – Street sideshows are becoming increasingly common in Chicago, halting traffic and creating dangerous situations for both bystanders and their vehicles alike. However, currently, there’s little action law enforcement officials can take against people participating.
That will change come January when Assistance Majority Leader Tony Munoz’ law that prohibits street sideshows takes effect.
“It seems like every weekend we see another case of dozens – or even hundreds – of people gathering on busy streets and putting other people’s lives at risk,” said Munoz (D-Chicago). “Not only is it frustrating for people trying to travel down those roads, it’s frustrating for law enforcement officers who aren’t currently allowed to take action.’
Munoz led House Bill 5439 during the spring legislative session. The law defines a street sideshow as any event in which one or more cars block or impede traffic to perform unauthorized motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, or motor vehicle exhibitions of speed.
Munoz’ law prohibits a street sideshow on any street or highway in Illinois and a person may not knowingly cause the movement of traffic to slow or stop for the purpose of facilitating street racing or a street sideshow. Under the previous law, people cannot be arrested for blocking a street or highway.
The law penalizes the impediment of traffic for a street sideshow or street racing in the same manner as the act of street racing. The first violation is considered a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a determinate sentence of less than one year and a minimum fine of $250. A second or subsequent violation is considered a Class 4 felony punishable by a sentence of one to three years and a minimum fine of $500.
“We must provide police officers with the tools they needs to best serve our communities,” Munoz said. “This law does just that and will make our streets safer for all. The time to stop this nonsense is now.”
House Bill 5439 takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.