2021 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 6 - Uniform Rules of the Road
Article 9 - Speed Restrictions
§ 40-6-186. Racing on Highways or Streets

Universal Citation: GA Code § 40-6-186 (2021)
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Drag race" means the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerated speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course from the same point to the same point for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.
    2. "Racing" means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain, outdistance, or prevent another vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers overlong-distance driving routes.
  2. No person shall drive any vehicle on a highway in this state in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition of speed, contest of speed, or test or exhibition of speed.
  3. Any person convicted of violating subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Ga. L. 1959, p. 303, § 1; Ga. L. 1961, p. 438, §§ 1-4; Code 1933, § 68A-808, enacted by Ga. L. 1975, p. 1582, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 5; Ga. L. 2006, p. 449, § 21/HB 1253.)

Cross references.

- Suspension of driver's license for conviction for racing on highways or streets, § 40-5-54.

Penalty for laying drags, § 40-6-251.


Section not lacking in clarity.

- Former Code 1933, § 68A-808 set out with reasonable definiteness what acts were prohibited. In re D.B.A., 242 Ga. 40, 247 S.E.2d 843 (1978) (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186).

Races and contests of speed are offenses under drag racing. Perkins v. State, 151 Ga. App. 199, 259 S.E.2d 193 (1979), overruled on other grounds, Chance v. State, 154 Ga. App. 543, 268 S.E.2d 737 (1980).

Only one acting with intention can be convicted of crime.

- Former Code 1933, § 68A-808 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186) must be construed in pari materia with other criminal sections and one can never be convicted of a crime unless one acts with intention, or criminal negligence. Snell v. McCoy, 135 Ga. App. 832, 219 S.E.2d 482 (1975).

Joint liability of racers.

- Basis for imposing liability upon a racer for the damages resulting from a collision involving only a co-racer's vehicle is that two or more persons engaged in a common enterprise are jointly liable for wrongful acts done in connection with the enterprise, at least when the enterprise is an unlawful one, in which case all are answerable for any injury done by any one of them, and even assuming that the evidence would not authorize a finding that the defendant and another were technically "racing" as defined in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186(a)(2), a "common enterprise" to drive two cars in tandem at excessive speeds and in a reckless manner is as much a tacit "unlawful joint enterprise" to violate the traffic laws of this state as an agreement to engage in "racing." Bellamy v. Edwards, 181 Ga. App. 887, 354 S.E.2d 434 (1987); Kilpatrick v. Foster, 185 Ga. App. 453, 364 S.E.2d 588 (1987), cert. denied, 185 Ga. App. 910, 364 S.E.2d 588 (1988).

Transfer of case involving juveniles to superior court.

- Evidence that a juvenile had a history of using marijuana and other drugs, had used marijuana before the juvenile lost control of a car the juvenile was driving while racing another car on a public street, causing a multi-car collision in which two people died, had challenged other people to automobile races on several occasions, violated the conditions of the juvenile's driver's license by driving with a non-family member, and used drugs after the accident was sufficient to support the juvenile court's judgment that the juvenile was not amenable to treatment in the juvenile court system and that the interests of the juvenile and the community would be better served if the case was transferred to the superior court. In the Interest of W.N.J., 268 Ga. App. 637, 602 S.E.2d 173 (2004).

State's proof against mere occupant of vehicle.

- When an occupant of a vehicle who was neither the driver nor the owner of the vehicle is charged with engaging in a contest of speed, or a race, the state must prove positive wrongful acts against the occupant. It may not rest the state's case simply on proof that the person was an occupant. Snell v. McCoy, 135 Ga. App. 832, 219 S.E.2d 482 (1975).

Evidence sufficient to support conviction.

- Defendants were guilty of racing even though their automobiles were capable of going faster than the speeds observed by the police and the distance between the vehicles stayed basically the same; the officers testified that one was trying to "outrun" the other. Dodd v. State, 205 Ga. App. 472, 422 S.E.2d 313 (1992).

Cited in Cabral v. White, 181 Ga. App. 816, 354 S.E.2d 162 (1987); Eason v. Dozier, 298 Ga. App. 65, 679 S.E.2d 89 (2009).


Suspension and retention of licenses of convicted racers.

- Department should continue to suspend and retain drivers' licenses of persons convicted of racing, in accordance with the provisions of former Code 1933, § 68A-808 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186), and disregard the inconsistent provisions of Ga. L. 1975, p. 1008, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. Ch. 5, T. 40) which were approved prior to the approval of that section. 1975 Op. Att'y Gen. 75-117.

Official reservation of street for drag-racing purposes.

- Prohibition of drag racing "on a highway in the state" in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-186 does not apply when the drag racing activities take place on a street which has been closed for that purpose. 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-53.

City street which has been closed to the public for purposes of an officially sanctioned activity (such as a drag race) ceases to be a "highway" as defined by § 40-1-1(16) (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(19)). 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-53.



- 60A C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, § 679.


- Excuse for exceeding speed limit for automobiles, 29 A.L.R. 883.

Liability of participant in unauthorized highway race for injury to third person directly caused by other racer, 13 A.L.R.3d 431.

Liability of public authority for injury arising out of automobile race conducted on street or highway, 80 A.L.R.3d 1192.

Criminal liability for street racing (drag racing), 89 A.L.R.6th 565.

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