The backstory: According to the report, between November and April, police issued 12,932 traffic citations, including 1,690 for school-zone violations. In addition, 61 fatal car accidents occurred—21 incidents involving pedestrians.
According to a city news release, in the same six-month span, people reported 1,074 incidents of street racing or street takeovers across the city. Many of the calls were about reckless motorists “hot rodding,” or driving vehicles with loud engines, screeching tires or accelerating too quickly.
According to the news release, street takeovers pose a serious problem because they block police and other emergency vehicles. During street takeovers, drivers perform dangerous and daring stunts like doughnuts as hundreds of onlookers stand by. These takeovers obstruct an entire street or intersection.
To encourage safer driving, Assistant Police Chief Robert Alldredge said police have ramped up their presence in the areas where speeding complaints and accidents are frequent. They are also using radar trailers and vacant marked patrol cars to help slow traffic.
Next steps: According to the news release, Alldredge expressed optimism that lawmakers in Austin will give their approval to legislation this session aimed at bolstering laws for police dealing with organized street racing and street takeovers. Council passed an ordinance two years ago that fines spectators at street races $500 for being there.
“One of the greatest resources we have, in all honesty, is the spectator ordinance,” Alldredge said. “We’ve been able to make quite a few arrests on that. Not only can we arrest them, but if they’re in a vehicle, we will tow their cars and make it inconvenient for them.”
In addition to fines, the news release stated that Fort Worth police want to do the following to better address street racing:
- Place additional traffic cameras in areas where the activity is frequent
- Use mobile speed radars and license plate readers in these same areas
- Educate drivers about the hazards of street racing and takeovers
- Work with other law enforcement agencies in the region to develop effective strategies