Daly City law would curb cars’ squealing and peeling 

Drivers in Daly City had better think twice before peeling out on city streets if a proposed new ordinance is approved.

In an effort to help police crack down on street-racing, the City Council will hold a public hearing Monday to gather the public’s thoughts on an ordinance banning squealing tires or, to use the parlance of our times, peeling out.

State vehicle codes make it illegal for a driver to squeal his tires — a sound that is often symptomatic of illegal street racing — only if there is an audience watching, Daly City police Sgt. Ron Mussman said.

"What this ordinance does is eliminate that as a defense," Mussman saidof the proposal.

"It’s not going to be your 80-year-old grandmother doing it," he added.

The ordinance, if adopted, would change the violation from an infraction to a misdemeanor for drivers, City Manager Pat Martel said.

Residents have made a lot of complaints to the city about the squealing tires and racing activity, Martel said.

"It is a local concern, and the Police Department feels this would give them a better tool to enforce the law," she said.

Steve Michaelis, owner of Baca’s Machine Shop on Mission Street, said he sees younger, high school-age kids come into his shop looking for cars that still pass the smog test but have increased horsepower.

"They see the movies like ‘Fast and the Furious,’ and they want their car to run like that," Michaelis said. "It’s all about speed until they see the dollar signs that go with it, and that slows them down a little bit," he said.

Cities including Burlingame and Oakland have adopted ordinances specifically targeting street races and the accompanying sideshows in an effort to make the streets safer, but participants tend to move on to other areas around the bay with less enforcement, Burlingame police officials said.

In 2005, Burlingame adopted an ordinance that made it illegal to watch such races and "sideshows" after speed contest and sideshow incidents nearly tripled from five in 2004 to 14 in 2005, Burlingame police Chief Jack Van Etten said.

The Daly City Council will hold a hearing on the street-racing ordinance Monday at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 330 90th St.

dsmith@examiner.com

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