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The Big Spring City Council is expected to hear first reading of a new traffic ordinance that would allow police officers to issue citations to motorists making a â€śdisplay of accelerationâ€ť or a rapid start, leaving a legal middle ground created several years ago when state law changed.
The new ordinance, which would be added to Section 18-78 entitled Racing and Exhibition of Acceleration, would make it unlawful for any person to race or otherwise cause a motor vehicle to make a rapid start or acceleration on a roadway.
According to Big Spring Police Chief Lonnie Smith, the addition of the ordinance will give police officials a middle ground when dealing with motorists â€” mostly youngsters â€” simply showing off.
â€śAbout three or four years ago the state changed the law surrounding racing on a highway,â€ť Smith said. â€śUp until then, officers could write a citation if someone was making a rapid start or spinning their tires. However, the change made it a Class B misdemeanor, which meant if an officer wrote that ticket, they would have to arrest the driver.â€ť
The new ordinance would allow officers and other law enforcement officials to be more community-minded when approaching these types of situations, Smith said.
â€śA lot of these cases are simply kids spinning their tires or otherwise showing off; however, they aren't racing on the highway or other roads,â€ť Smith said. â€śThis will allow officers to address the problem without these 16- and 17-year-old kids ending up with an arrest record when it's really not necessary.â€ť
Smith said the new ordinance is something many West Texas cities are addressing, including several nearby cities.
â€śBoth Midland and San Angelo have passed similar ordinances,â€ť he said. â€śA lot of Texas cities are addressing the issue.â€ť
While the ordinance will give peace officers something of a middle ground when dealing with these cases, Smith stressed it won't apply to drivers who decide to take it to far.
â€śFor those who are racing, nothing will change. If they get caught, they will be arrested,â€ť Smith said firmly. â€śThat won't change.â€ť
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council will address:
â€˘ Final reading of a resolution authorizing the city to apply for a grant from the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission and Regional Solid Waste Grants Program.
â€˘ Approval of a joint election agreement with the Big Spring Independent School District.
â€˘ Acceptance of Big Spring Economic Development Corporation board of directors minutes from the meeting held Nov. 20, 2012.
Tuesday's meeting is to get under way at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. Fourth Street. Fore more information, call 264-2401. A complete copy of the meeting agenda can be found online at www.mybigspring.com