CVC 23109: Exhibition of speed and Speed Contests
California law prohibits reckless driving, exhibiting excessive speed, and “speed contests” or racing on public roadways. These activities can result in dangerous situations for not only the people racing, but also the public at large including other cars, pedestrians and even property such as parked cars.
The California Vehicle Code lays out prohibited conduct in CVC 23109, and is broken up into several paragraphs that lay down the law with respect to various speeding/exhibition/speed contest situations.
CVC 23109 paragraph by paragraph:
CVC 23109 (a): This section covers “public roadways in California. Public roadways include all surface streets that are maintained for public use, and certain parking lots or structures.
This section prohibits speed contests on public roadways. Also known as “drag racing” or “rally’s,” speed contests lead to all kinds of trouble including increased risk of collisions between the participants and with other cars on the road.
CVC 23109(a) goes on to exempt “contests of more than 20 miles” involving cars that are not going faster than the published speed limit.
CVC 23109(b) prohibits “abetting” or “aiding” others who are engaged in racing. The type of racing contemplated in section (b) includes drag racing or rally racing over intermediate distances.
This means people are prohibited from even helping or encouraging others to race on public streets.
CVC 23109 (c) prohibits aiding or encouraging not only street racing but also exhibitions of speed.
An important determination in these cases is whether the driver was in fact speeding. If the driver involved in these cases was not going over the posted speed limit, no “exhibition of speed” has occurred because no speeding actually took place.
CVC 23109(d) Prohibits conduct such as erecting barricades or blocking off stretches of highway to facilitate racing between two other cars. This also prohibits using cones, construction signs or other placards that discourage people from driving on a stretch of road so that others can race on it.