Ohio lawmakers proposed a new bill to curb reckless driving in the state.
State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Kevin Miller (R-Newark) introduced House Bill (HB) 740, which would prohibit hooning on public roads or private property open to the public. Other things the bill would prohibit are speed racing, performing dangerous 360-degree “donuts,” and allowing passengers to ride outside of open windows.
According to The Drive, hooning is the operation of a motor vehicle in an aggressive and unorthodox manner, including, but not limited to, drifting, burnouts, and donuts, as well as acts of automotive aeronautics.
According to Plummer, the problem is plaguing the cities of Columbus, Dayton, and Trotwood, and reckless drivers are causing property damage and putting themselves and other citizens in danger.
“It has to stop and the best way to make it stop is to increase penalties,” Plummer said in a statement.
When joyriders are caught, the punishment is only a minor misdemeanor with a $150 fine for a first offense.
HB 740 increases the penalty, with violators potentially facing six months in jail, the suspension of their license, and a $1,000 fine. Vehicles could also be seized in this process.
Not only does the bill increase the penalty for reckless driving, but it also creates penalties for spectators, with up to $1,000 in fines and community service hours.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 40,698 unintentional motor vehicle deaths in 2020.
Law enforcement throughout the state has also taken measures to address the dangers associated with hooning.
The Trotwood Police Department plans to implement technology and cameras to catch perpetrators’ license plates rather than enlisting police to chase down the potentially deadly drivers and face the risk of injury or collision.
“Too many people are losing their lives needlessly on our streets,” Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said in a statement.
There are exceptions to the law. The rules do not apply if the driver or spectator participates in a race sponsored by a recognized or responsible organization or a race authorized by local or state authorities.
According to the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the organization has not yet come out with an opinion on the bill.
The bill is too new to have public opponents and has yet to be assigned to a committee; however, that is subject to change.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]