KCMO City Council Erects Roadblocks Against Reckless Drag Racing On City Streets | KCUR 89.3
Reckless drag races, burnouts and other dangerous driving stunts have frustrated Kansas City police, residents and motorists, especially during the pandemic, and also spawned shootings and other violence.
Now the city council is taking action to try to deal with the illegal activity and deter these harmful street takeovers.
The council’s transport and infrastructure committee on Wednesday approved an order that gives the city and police more tools to investigate these crimes and seize vehicles to use as evidence. The measure goes to full council Thursday for final adoption.
âThere are Kansas citizens who are afraid to drive on the streets and all of a sudden they see street races,â Jane Brown, legal counsel to Mayor Quinton Lucas, told members of the Transportation Committee at the meeting. ‘a meeting on May 19. âPublic roads are created and maintained for public use. It is not for individuals to engage in what is truly the sport of street racing. “
In recent months, videos of several incidents have been shared on social media, including vehicles making “donuts” across from the T-Mobile Center in the 1300 block of Grand Boulevard.
In another incident, police said several people were shot dead and a police car was damaged by gunfire as the runners roamed the city.
âStreet racing has become more and more of a danger to pedestrians and motorists in the city,â Police Captain Martin Cobbinah told the committee. “We believe the ordinance should be such that those named understand the damage they are causing both to the city and to private property.”
He said the irresponsible use of firearms in some of these events is even more concerning, especially with the large crowds gathering.
âOur biggest concern is that there will be more injuries, accidents, deaths at a different level as a result of this activity,â he said.
Police are not inclined to pursue runners at the scene due to the risk to other motorists. The new ordinance gives them the power to seize the vehicle (s) later, after the execution of a search warrant. Vehicles can be impounded for up to 30 days. There is an appeal process for motorists to challenge the impoundment.
While the ordinance adds these provisions, it also reduces some potential penalties. Under current law, the penalty for street racing, including spectators, can be up to $ 500 and six months in prison.
The new proposal reduces the first offense sentence to a fine of up to $ 150 and 30 days in jail. The maximum penalty of $ 500 or six months in jail would apply for a third and subsequent violation. Under the change, spectators would not be sentenced to jail, but could be fined $ 100.
Some council members were mystified by the allure of urban street racing.
âI guess I’m showing my age, but what happened to going on a deserted road outside of town and running?â Asked Councilor Katheryn Shields. âWhether by the river or just in the countryside. This is an interesting change in the dynamics of how individuals are involved in street racing. “
Several council members are concerned about what could happen if a young motorist engages in this activity without a parent’s knowledge, and this vehicle is then impounded for 30 days, putting livelihoods at risk. of the family.
Cobbinah said motorists are generally older and 16-18 year olds are more likely to be spectators. He said in the case of minors, where the parent is cooperative, the minor could be given a ticket and the vehicle does not need to be impounded as proof.