EBR Metro Council approves new penalties for stunt drivers and spectators
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - New penalties are now in place for stunt driving and spectators on public roads in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The public has been calling for action ever since the Garth Brooks concert back on April 30, where stunt drivers shut down College Drive.
“This is what law enforcement is asking for. I won’t be soft on this,” said Councilman Rowdy Gaudet of District 3, who drafted the ordinance.
The ordinance describes stunt activities as, “Burning out the tires of a motor vehicle or engaging in any similar activity in which a vehicle is kept stationary and while its wheels spin, causing the tires to create smoke; performing donuts or any similar activity in which the vehicle is driven in circles while continuing to accelerate; operating a motor vehicle in a reckless or careless manner, or violating any traffic regulation for purposes of attracting bystanders or onlookers, or for the entertainment or gratification of spectators.”
“Our community is calling on us to help halt this activity,” said Rowdy Gaudet, Metro Councilman for District 3.
“It’s those who are involved, those who are participating in that illegal behavior will be held accountable,” said Chief Murphy Paul with BRPD.
First-time violators will now face a $1,000 fine, instead of the previous amount of $500. People could also face prison time for 10 to 90 days for each separate offense. Violators could also get their license suspended, and their vehicle could be removed and impounded by law enforcement.
“This is not something small. We dedicate a lot of resources, a lot of resources, overtime, manpower, that takes us a way from a lot of the other proacive ways that we can be using those resources for. So we’re hoping this new ordinance can be a deterrent,” said Chief Paul.
Spectators and people who broadcast about the events on social media could also face the same penalties.
“If something tragic were to happen our ems officials tell us they couldn’t break through that crowd, to get to where they need to be. So they were having a hard time getting through all the spectators,” said Gaudet.
These new changes basically amend a previous ordinance that was passed back in August of 2021, which made drag racing illegal across the parish.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul and his officers helped work on the ordinance with Councilman Gaudet, to add “more tools in the toolbox” to stop it from happening.
“To identify and hold those accountable, who are organizing those events. And who are really, really , causing problems in our community,” said Chief Paul.
Baton Rouge Police officers will be enforcing the new rules within the city limits, which go into effect immediately.
To read the legislation, click here: http://hdlegisuite.brgov.com/attachments/2022/legislation_FF6635EC.pdf
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