Senate Bill 126 Requires Individuals Causing High Speed Chases to Pay Back Recovery Costs
(SACRAMENTO) --- Senate Public Safety Committee approved Senator George Runner's (R-Antelope Valley) legislation to curb the growing problem of dangerous high speed chases by requiring the offender to reimburse law enforcement for the costs associated with the pursuit.
"High speed chases are up 49% since 1999 and collisions are up 142% --enough is enough. Taxpayers are footing the bill for these chases that wreak havoc on our roads and endanger people's lives," said Senator Runner.
Senate Bill 126 passed Senate Public Safety Committee with bipartisan support on a 4-to-1 vote. The bill requires individuals that cause a high speed chase or evade peace officers to be responsible for the costs that lawenforcement incurs if they are convicted of unlawfully evading or attempting to evade peace officers. Personal liability will not exceed $12,000 per
Runner continued, "It's past time to put a stop to these high speed chases and the blatant disregard of the safety of others and for property. These fleeing offenders should not only face criminal charges but be required to reimburse taxpayers for the high costs that law enforcement must expend to capture them."
SB 126 is widely supported by law enforcement including: Association for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police Protective League, Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Districts Association of California, and the Riverside Sheriffs' Association.
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) 2003 statistics, the CHP alone was involved in 1,779 pursuits, with 448 resulting in some form of traffic collision. Special equipment is required for high speed chases including aircraft, spike strips, extraordinary wear and damage to patrol vehicles. Operating a helicopter ranges from $250 to $600 per hour. The cost to
replace a spike strip is $342, and mileage ranges from 48 cents to 80 cents per mile for patrol vehicles.