Grapevine City Council passed an ordinance which prohibits gathering and watching any activity that blocks intersections and roadways. Reckless driving exhibitions, also known as street takeovers, are preplanned events when motor vehicles block a roadway to show off dangerous stunts for entertainment, according to city documents.
Now in Grapevine, spectators can face up to $500 in criminal fines.
Police Chief Mike Hamlin said during the holidays there was an intersection takeover on Main Street and Dallas Road. There was also an event at Mustang Drive and William D. Tate Avenue that took place recently, he said.
While state statutes address the drivers during the events, Hamlin said there is nothing in Texas law that addresses the bystanders and spectators.
“The ordinance allows us to address the spectators that come around [and] any individual that allows this sort of event to occur on their property,” Hamlin said in the meeting.
Grapevine is not the first city to pass such an ordinance.
In April 2021, Fort Worth passed an ordinance that made it illegal to watch a street race. Spectators present at a street race or takeover can face up to $500 in fines.
Spectators are defined as those who are present at a street race or reckless driving exhibition for the purpose of watching, betting, gambling or recording the event as it progresses, according to Grapevine's ordinance. Many onlookers actively participate by recording videos of the event and posting them online, city documents stated.
The ordinance pertains to events on a public street, highway or off-street parking facility. Under the rule, an offense is also committed if a person allows the racing or reckless driving to occur on a premise they own, operate or control.
The ordinance also has a provision that allows the city to seize a vehicle used during these events. The abatement and seizure process will ensure oversight and judicial review before finalizing any seizure, city documents stated.
A motor vehicle will be declared a nuisance and seized if it is used in a street racing or reckless driving exhibition. Within 60 days of receiving the title for the vehicle, the city will offer the seized vehicle at public auction, convey it to a licensed dismantler or donate the vehicle to a charity organization, city documents stated.
Council Member Leon Leal asked if the ordinance would address the noise created during the events. Hamlin said the new ordinance does not address the noise, but the city’s noise ordinance does.
“If we impound the vehicle, [then] it won’t be very noisy,” said Council Member Chris Coy.