Senate passes steeper penalties for deadly stunt driving, street takeovers
Jason Pizzo says the Special Session is more tort reform than a property insurance fix.

‘They are creating an incredibly dangerous environment.’

Florida police trying to crack down on dumb, dangerous driving, and scary-stupid street takeovers could soon have more punitive tools at their disposal through legislation the Senate passed unanimously.

The bill (SB 1764) would update laws the Legislature established in 2022 enabling cops to hand out fines and make arrests based on video evidence of stunt driving and drag racing. It would raise the fine for coordinating or participating in those and street takeover events to up to $2,000 for a first offense and a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Subsequent offenses would carry harsher penalties. People who merely watch the event in person would face a $500 fine, up from $65 now.

The measure also makes it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and $4,000 in fines for a person involved in a street takeover to knowingly impede or interfere with the movement of an emergency vehicle. A second such offense could land someone in prison for 15 years.

Hollywood Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo, the bill’s sponsor, said lethal street shenanigans are still a big problem across Florida despite legislation he passed in 2022 to curb the sometimes fatal activity disproportionately popular among young people.

“They use social media, and they are creating an incredibly dangerous environment,” he said before the vote Friday. “Ambulances, fire and police cannot get to the center of the intersection, (and) these networks … will likely result in the injury or death of your child or your grandchild at some point.”

Asked how many lives he expects the bill to save, Pizzo didn’t offer an estimate.

“Candidly, it may very well save the lives of some of the kids that come over for pizza (with my kids) at my house,” he said. “That’s enough for me.”

Under the bill, people found guilty of coordinating or participating in stunt driving, drag racing or street takeover events would face a third-degree felony and a two-year driver’s license suspension for a second offense within a year of the first.

Those who don’t learn their lesson the first two times would face a second-degree felony, which carries an up to 15-year punishment, $7,500 in fines and a four-year license revocation.

The bill also provides a definition in state statutes for a “coordinated street takeover” to mean 10 or more vehicles operated in an organized manner to effect a street takeover. Pizzo said there are often hundreds of vehicles involved in these events.

Police, especially in South Florida, responded to a flood of street takeovers last year of which footage spread virally on social media. Between 2018 and 2022, law enforcement officers issued 6,641 citations for street racing and stunt driving, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Nearly 28% of them were in Miami-Dade. The median age of offenders was 21.

West Palm Beach Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell said he saw a street takeover firsthand while driving to church one morning.

“It was a scary feeling for me, because I didn’t want to be caught up in any of that,” he said. “I’m hopeful that this legislation … will prevent some of those tragic accidents from happening, but also prevent people from taking these types of risks.”

Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess expressed similar sentiments.

“As a father of kids that will be driving someday soon,” he said, “I know that I’ll be thankful for this down the road — no pun intended.”

SB 1764 will now be sent to the House, where similar legislation (HB 1363) by Apopka Republican Rep. Doug Bankson and Jacksonville Republican Rep. Kiyan Michael awaits a floor vote. The lawmakers temporarily postponed a vote on their bill Friday, likely so that the measure could be taken up alongside its Senate version for a single — and final — vote.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Dont Say FLA

    March 1, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    Now, what was that? Cops are going to troll Instagram and write tickets based on videos in this age of Deepfake AI? GAME ON!

    Don’t mess with me or I will upload a video of you doing stunt driving and drag racing while watching yourself in the rear view mirror.

    You didn’t really do that? Prove it!

    Deepfake video proves you guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

    • Ron Forrest Ron

      March 1, 2024 at 12:21 pm

      People were saying Ron DeSantis was driving every single one of those State of Florida owned SUVs the Rhonda Campaign was driving up in Tennessee when they could not navigate a hill and all crashed into each other upon cresting a hill for their first time ever and seeing stopped cars ahead.

      I didn’t believe Rhonda could drive all the SUVs simultaneously, but then I saw the video and there they were behind the wheel of each and every SUV simultaneously which you’d think they’d have known not to crash into themselves like that, but the Rhondas are not bright ones. They’re sportsball scholars.

Comments are closed.


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