BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A deadly car crash killed a 19-year-old earlier this week, and officials said it was the result of an illegal street race.
The accident was right off Panama Lane and Akers Road.
New legislation that went into effect January is trying to curb street racing and sideshows, but it's still a process to get everything in place.
“It’s a tragic situation, a young life was lost. Those involved, their lives will never be the same,” said Vince Fong, Assembly Member.
In a three-car crash on February 2, 19-year-old Bianca Flores was killed when the car she was driving was hit by another car that was illegally street racing with a motorcycle, according to the police.
“It’s unacceptable and heartbreaking. It’s a road that I travel on, I know a lot of residents of Kern County travel on it all the time. We’re taking our kids to school, we’re going to the grocery store, just going about our daily lives on Panama lane,” said Fong.
To try to prevent situations like this, Assembly Member Vince Fong authorized Assembly Bill 3, which came into effect in January of 2022.
“Specifically addresses the activity of sideshows and illegal street takeovers, that activity is unfortunately associated with illegal street racing.”
Sideshows are typically when drivers sometimes block traffic on a highway to do stunts, have speed contests, or drive recklessly to entertain.
According to the legislation, these drivers can have their license restricted, or suspended, for up to six months.
But even though the bill came into law a little more than a month ago, Fong said they are working to put these measures in place.
“The implementation still needs to be worked out. We’re working with the DMV to accelerate their modernization program of drivers licenses.”
Fong added that law enforcement, including CHP and local agencies, are trying to patrol more to stop people from engaging in these activities.
“There are task forces, there are enhanced operations where they are going out and trying to stop illegal street racing activities, so more needs to be done.”
Even though there is still more work to be done, Fong said they are working to bringing additional resources to the effort, to make sure no family has to lose a loved one to illegal street racing or sideshows.
“The tools are there, the framework is there, but at the end of the day it’s personal responsibility and if someone is going to engage in this behavior, there are going to be consequences,” said Fong.
BPD said the driver, Iqbal Singh, is still in the hospital and will be booked once he is discharged.
He is charged with murder, among others and while there are no other suspects, this is an ongoing investigation, so if you do have any information, you can call BPD at 661-327-7111.
What exactly does Assembly Bill 3 entail?
According to California Legislative Information, Assembly Bill 3 prohibits a person from engaging in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway or aiding or abetting in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway. Upon conviction, existing law punishes a person by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 90 days, by a fine of not more than $500, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2025, additionally authorize the court to order the privilege to operate a motor vehicle suspended for 90 days to 6 months and restrict the person’s operation of a motor vehicle for the purposes of their employment, as specified. The bill would require the court to consider a person’s hardships, as specified, when deciding to either suspend or restrict a driver’s license. The bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend or restrict a driver’s license as ordered by the court.