Exhibition Driving
Halt | November 20, 2022 | 0 Comments

Increased Cases of Exhibition Driving in Baltimore

In Baltimore, cases of exhibition driving, commonly known as street takeovers, have been on the rise, causing significant concern. Essentially, it is when a group gathers in a parking lot or any other open area, sometimes blocking off busy intersections as drivers do dangerous stunts.

In one such case at President and Pratt streets in Baltimore, a crowd watched a driver perform a donut. A donut involves rotating the rear or front end of a vehicle (a car or a bike) in a continuous motion around the opposite wheels. The result is a circular rubbery skid mark pattern & smoke from the friction.

One of the most significant risks of such stunts is an increased risk of accidents as most of these drivers are not trained. Like the President and Pratt case, whenever police get to the scene, the drivers and the crowd are usually long gone.

Keep in mind that such cases are not only restricted to Baltimore. Take California, for instance. Police have been forced to enact a ‘Street Racing Enforcement Operation’ due to the numerous crashes and injuries that directly result from such stunts.

Cases of Exhibition Driving

Recent Exhibition Driving Events in Baltimore

Multiple exhibition driving events in Baltimore have prompted mass police responses in recent days. For instance, in Ocean City, more than 100 people were arrested in 2020 during an exhibition driving event.

In 2019, police reported a BMW driver losing control and hitting an adult and a child. One of the biggest downsides to police enforcement is department policy, which prohibits officers from chasing fleeing vehicles.

In another more recent incident that happened at the busy intersection between Northern Parkway and Falls Road, a crowd watched as four cars did donuts. The incident, which happened on March 31, caused major traffic blockages where emergency vehicles were affected.

While police responded, they did not arrest anyone as the crowd dispersed and the cars fled. In fact, in almost all cases, police get to the scene only to find nobody. The result is the destruction of property and sometimes crashes since amateurs perform these stunts.

Lawmakers Attempt to Clamp Down on Street Racers

Such rising cases and their direct and indirect impacts have caught the attention of lawmakers. In Baltimore, street racers blocked an ambulance attempting to pass through an intersection with its lights on; when it did pass through, they hit it with bottles.

Exhibition Driving in Baltimore

“Lawmakers have expressed concern over this rising issue and introduced a bill that would impose heavier fines for people caught in street racing. Penalties include impounding vehicles, doubling fines, and issuing additional points to licenses” according to traffic lawyer Seth Okin.

Problems With The Bill

The bill still has some significant loopholes that would need attention if it is to be passed. For instance, legislators like Del. Marlon D. Amprey, a Democrat representing Baltimore, expressed substantial areas of concern with the bill.

The lawmaker noted that increased fines in the original bill, such as increased fines for drivers that modify their exhaust system, would allow officers to stop noisy vehicles that are not affiliated with exhibition driving.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Pamela Beidle, a Democrat representing Anne Arundel County, says it is still far off. It had some last-minute amendments and needed to be voted out of committee, the house of delegates, and come back to the senate.

illegal exhibition driving

Varied Laws in States

Exhibition driving penalties vary from state to state. For instance, in Virginia, penalties include a misdemeanor reckless driving charge that could result in up to a year in jail.

On the other hand, in Maryland, individuals that engage in reckless driving are less likely to get jail time. Instead, they get fines while in Virginia, reckless driving automatically equates to having your drivers license revoked for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.

According to Maryland State Police, the bill would allow officers to impound and tow vehicles that engage in exhibition driving, which is expected to reduce the rising rates in Baltimore and other areas.

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