Senate Bill 126 Requires Individuals Causing High Speed Chases to Pay Back Recovery Costs
(SACRAMENTO) — To address the growing problem of dangerous high speed
chases, Senator George Runner’s (R-Antelope Valley) legislative proposal has
now been approved by two Senate policy committees and will be considered by
the full State Senate.
“Taxpayers are footing the bill for high speed chases that wreak havoc on
our roads and endanger people’s lives. This legislation will require these
fleeing offenders to repay the taxpayers for the high costs that law
enforcement must expend to capture them,” said Senator Runner.
Senate Bill 126 passed Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously late yesterday
and passed Senate Public Safety Committee in April. The bill requires
individuals that cause a high speed chase or evade peace officers to be
responsible for the costs that law enforcement incurs if they are convicted
of unlawfully evading or attempting to evade peace officers. Personal
liability will not exceed $12,000 per incident. The legislation would
require the convicted offender to first pay restitution to any victim and
then repay law enforcement for excessive costs they incur.
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.”
SB 126 is widely supported by law enforcement including: Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Protective League, Association for
Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Peace Officers Research Association of
California, California Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Districts Association
of California, and the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association.
High speed chases are up 49% since 1999 and collisions are up 142%.
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
The State Senate will take a vote on SB 126 in the next few weeks.