State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, met with Zipper last week to discuss the barracks’ plans to combat drag racing as well as other initiatives scheduled for this summer.
The first-term senator said she was debriefed on the barracks’ racing prevention methods and how the current racing laws fall short in protecting other motorists. She said it’s important for the county to give state police the necessary tools to combat what she called “a troubling activity.”
O’Connor Ives said she will be sharing her information with Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, and added that it could take a legislative solution to ensure public safety on the roads, as the current system seems to have few deterrents. She also said she would broach the subject with her peers inside the Statehouse, hoping to find allies in her push to strengthen legislation.
“It’s really worrisome if folks are blocking exits and slowing down traffic and lanes in a synchronized way. It’s very dangerous,” O’Connor Ives said. “I want to give them the tools they need and also update the other legislators who might not have it on their radars.”
The current maximum penalty for drag racing in the state is 2 1/2 years in jail, but Zipper said he’d like to see prosecutors and police work together to come up with additional penalties and strategies to further deter the dangerous activity.