MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens of Memphians sounded off about reckless driving and drag racing at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting.
Frustrating boiled over at the community meeting. High Point Terrace resident Lauren Giovannetti is upset about drag racing on Highland Street near the Green Line.
“About a year ago, we had two drag racers hanging out their windows shooting at each other with AK-47s. Police came and they found AK-47 shells littered all over our neighborhood and it’s just enough. We both have little kids,” Giovannetti said.
Councilman Ford Canale held the meeting to look at solutions to curb the problem after a resident came forward with her story.
“Starting with MPD, we need more police officers to make the arrest. We need the attorney general’s office to file the charges against, and we need the judges to hold them accountable for their actions,” Canale said.
City engineers, District Attorney Steve Mulroy, other elected officials, and members of the Memphis Police Department were on the panel.
According to MPD, there has been an uptick in reckless driving since the start of the pandemic. In 2021, 890 people were charged with reckless driving or drag racing. That number grew to 990 in 2022.
Chief Davis said the department is beefing up its traffic division to enforce the rules of the road.
“The city has an epidemic of counterfeit tags on the road,” she said. “We instituted a new traffic plan in the downtown area, which is very concerning because we had race cars just terrorizing our downtown space.”
Elected officials are looking for a solution to the growing problem. Councilman Canale is hoping new legislation with stricter penalties could be the answer.
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is affecting every single corner of Memphis,” Canale said. “And it has to stop people who are using cars they are terrorizing our streets with vehicles and using them as deadly weapons.”
As for other solutions, residents would like a tipline to report reckless driving and they want to know if it’s possible to take cars away from offenders.