On Aug. 2, 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed two bills to tackle the issue of street racing in the state.
Among those present at the signing event were Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Weybourn and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw. They discussed the significance of these laws and emphasized the importance of interagency collaboration in effectively addressing street racing and street takeovers in Texas.
Gov. Abbott signed two bills into law aimed at curbing street takeovers:
The first bill, House Bill 1442, grants law enforcement and prosecutors enhanced tools to combat organized street racing and takeover events statewide. This new legislation introduces two additional offenses to the organized criminal activity statute: reckless driving exhibition and racing on a highway. Law enforcement now holds the authority to seize both vehicles and contraband used in the commission of these crimes. This bill will come into effect on September 1, 2023.
The second bill, House Bill 2899, enables the immediate removal and impoundment of vehicles involved in street takeovers. This measure is already in effect.
"Illegal street racing has become a growing problem, and Texas law enforcement needs new tools to curb illegal street racers whose activities threaten the very safety of everyone around them," said Gov. Abbott.
During the signing, Gov. Abbott discussed a street takeover in Fort Worth. Last month police broke up the takeover and arrested the five people involved
"Street racing and street takeovers are not a victimless crime," said Mayor Parker. "Right here in Fort Worth, we lost a wonderful young couple who had three children. These types of incidents are all too common across the country.”
In February, Gov. Abbott revealed the establishment of a comprehensive statewide street takeover task force with the aim of countering the surge in perilous street takeovers occurring throughout Texas. The task force effectively intervened in multiple takeover events in all seven of Texas highway patrol division regions. Collaborating closely with local law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) made over 50 arrests, carried out more than 590 traffic stops and issued over 390 traffic citations in connection with illegal street racing activities across the state.