TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s ban on drag racing, stunt driving and street takeovers takes effect Oct. 1. The bill was passed in the 2022 legislative session unanimously in both chambers. It was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 9.
House Bill 399, “Motor Vehicle and Vessel Law Enforcement” takes effect Saturday. It will ban people from “driving motor vehicle in street takeover, stunt driving, race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration on highway, roadway, or parking lot,” according to a summary from the Florida Senate.
Additionally, it will add penalties for “unlawful use of certain lights,” making it a crime, and will allow juries and Florida courts to choose if “certain evidence” is admissible for determining when someone has falsely said they were a member of Florida law enforcement or first responders, such as a firefight.
The extensive list of personnel positions the law applies to can be read in full in the bill’s text.
As far as penalties and crimes, HB 399 defines new actions that are against the law.
- A maneuver performed while operating a motor vehicle whereby the motor vehicle is kept stationary, or is in motion, while the wheels are spun, resulting in friction which causes the motor vehicle’s tires to heat up and emit smoke.
- A maneuver performed while operating a motor vehicle whereby the front or rear of the motor vehicle is rotated around the opposite set of wheels in a continuous motion which may cause a circular skid-mark pattern of rubber on the driving surface or the tires to heat up and emit smoke from friction, or both.
- A maneuver performed while operating a motor vehicle whereby the motor vehicle is steered so that it makes a controlled skid sideways through a turn with the front wheels pointed in a direction opposite to that of the turn.
For the purpose of the law and the changes HB 399 makes to Florida statutes, a motor vehicle has the same meaning as it does in s.316.003, to include motorcycles, autocycles, mopeds, all-terrain vehicles, off-road vehicles or any other vehicle that is not licensed to operate on a highway or roadway.
Drag races and street takeovers, and related events, as well as recording or filming them and posting them to social media, will be defined as crimes by state law.
The law defines the events as follows.
- Taking over of a portion of a highway, roadway, or parking lot by blocking or impeding the regular flow of traffic to perform a race, drag race, burnout, doughnut, drifting, wheelie, or other stunt driving.
- To perform or engage in any burnouts, doughnuts, drifting, wheelies, or other dangerous motor vehicle activity on a highway, roadway, or parking lot as part of a street takeover.
- A maneuver performed while operating a mot or vehicle whereby a motor vehicle is ridden for a distance with the front wheel or wheels raised off the ground.
HB 399 makes any street takeover or incidence of stunt driving illegal, nor will it be legal for Floridians or others to coordinate, facilitate, collect money for or bet on any drag race, street takeover, stunt driving, competition, contest, test, or exhibition, including via social media.
It will even be illegal to be a spectator of the events, or ride as a passenger in a vehicle partaking in these previously described acts. Causing traffic or pedestrian traffic to be stopped, slowed, or impeded in anyway will also be illegal if it is for a drag race, street takeover, or stunt driving.
Additionally, operating a motor vehicle for filming or recording races, drag races, street takeovers, stun driving, or similar events will be illegal if those doing so are not “bona fide members of the news media.” Those operating a motor vehicle with “any amount of fuel for the purposes of fueling a motor vehicle involved” in the aforementioned events is also illegal under the new law.