Alabama Targets Reckless Driving

Massive Penalties and Imprisonment Threatened

An Alabama state Senate committee has given the green light to an amended bill that would make exhibition driving illegal across the whole state, according to Alabama Political Reporter. This type of driving is defined as “the practice of holding impromptu races or exhibitions of speed and power, as well as performing burnouts and donuts in busy intersections” and in public parking lots. The bill now needs to be approved by the full Senate before it can become law.

Following two major incidents involving exhibition driving in Birmingham, Alabama late last year, one of which resulted in twelve people being hurt, nine of them critically (the cars involved were a Dodge Charger and Nissan 370Z), the city has amended its laws. The other incident involved “a shooting incident among exhibition drivers (that) left five people injured outside a Smithfield nightclub.” It is in light of these events that the city has decided to take action, amending its laws to ensure that such incidents do not take place again.

Legislators Aim to Ban Exhibition Driving | April 5, 2023 | News 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The sanctions in the bill commence with the chance of a jail time not surpassing 90 days or financial fines from $25 to $500; both options could also be combined. For those who have committed multiple offences, further punishments shall apply after the third violation. Likewise, law enforcement can take automobiles into police custody for a minimum period of 48 hours.

In the case of a motorist causing physical harm to another individual, this is considered a Class A misdemeanor for which there may be up to one year’s imprisonment and a fine of as much as $6,000. As for when fatalities occur due to the driver’s conduct, this constitutes a Class B felony with a sentence amounting to a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine not exceeding $30,000.

It appears that the proposed amendments to the law in Alabama, if approved by the full Senate, would serve as an enhancement to existing laws regarding reckless and dangerous driving, as well as manslaughter. These amendments specifically define terms such as “burnout,” “donut,” “sideshow,” “speed contest,” and “exhibition of speed” in relation to exhibition driving on public roads. Although we are not lawyers, it appears that these amendments are covered by existing laws across the states.

“Four people have been killed due to the recklessness of those behind the wheel of these cars,” declared state Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who is the sponsor of the bill. “It’s an unacceptable tragedy that needs to be addressed.”

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