Huge fines and jail time are now in the cards.
An Alabama state Senate committee approved an amended bill to outlaw exhibition driving statewide, sending it to the full Senate for consideration, reports Alabama Political Reporter. The article defines exhibition driving as "the practice of holding impromptu races or exhibitions of speed and power, as well as performing burnouts and donuts in busy intersections." It also mentions public parking lots.
The amendment follows two serious incidents concerning exhibition driving in Birmingham, Alabama late last year, one of which left a dozen people injured, with at least nine critically (the cars involved were a Dodge Charger and Nissan 370Z). The other involved "a shooting incident among exhibition drivers (that) left five people injured outside a Smithfield nightclub."
The penalties in the bill start with the possibility of up to 90 days in jail or a fine running between $25 to $500, or both. Penalties then increase for repeat offenders after three or more incidents. Law enforcement can also impound vehicles for a minimum of 48 hours.
If a driver injures somebody, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor with one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. If a driver's actions result in death, it becomes a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison and a $30,000 fine.
We are not lawyers, but as far as we're aware, this is all covered by existing laws across the states, including Alabama, as reckless and dangerous driving and manslaughter. It looks like these amendments, if the full Senate approves them, would be used as enhancements on top of laws that already cover exhibition driving on public roads as it specifically defines terms like "burnout," "donut," "sideshow," "speed contest," and "exhibition of speed."
"We've had four people get killed because the folks are out there with those cars, and those cars get out of control," said state Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who is the bill's sponsor.
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