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Florida seeks to make street takeovers, car stunts illegal

Anyone who violated the potential new law would face a misdemeanor charge, fines and have their license revoked for one year.
Credit: toa555 - stock.adobe.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Street takeovers to perform car stunts like doughnuts, drifting and burnouts could become illegal in Florida. 

The state Senate Committee on Transportation unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to make it a first-degree misdemeanor to drive, be a passenger or be a spectator at a street takeover. The bill also applies to motorcycles.

Under SB 876: "Stunt Driving on Highways," the following would be prohibited: 

  • Any street takeover, stunt driving, race, speed competition, or contest. 
  • Drag race or acceleration contests.
  • Tests of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed 
  • Attempts of making a speed record on a highway, roadway, or parking lot.

In addition to the first-degree misdemeanor charge, anyone who violates the potential new law would be required to pay a fine between $500 - $1,000. The bill also calls for the license of anyone convicted to be revoked for one year.

Second or third violations would come with increased fines and longer suspensions of one's license, according to the bill text. 

Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo, who filed the bill, said the events have an almost nightly event in Miami and other Florida cities and have caused numerous injuries and deaths.

During the committee meeting, Pizzo showed members videos of cars doing doughnuts during a street takeover — tires screeching and smoking as drivers went in circles.

The Tampa Bay area also has its own problems with street racing. 

In 2021, Florida Highway Patrol arrested four drivers who were said to be reaching top speeds of 114 mph while racing on the Gandy Bridge. 

Most notably, authorities say street racing was behind a deadly 2018 crash that killed a mother and her 21-month-old daughter as they crossed Bayshore Boulevard.

If passed and signed by the governor, SB 876 would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2022.