By Jennifer Duval
The revving of engines, the squealing of brakes, the roar of onlookers – if these sounds are waking you up late at night, you’re not alone. Dallas street racing incidents nearly doubled in 2020, compared to 2019. And in 2019, street racing was such a problem that police formed a special task force to combat the problem. But the problem continues to grow, and now includes “sliders” who meet up in parking lots or take over intersections to do donuts and throw their cars in circles. Fed up Dallasites repeatedly address the city council during meetings to complain not only about the noise racing creates, but of crashes that occur perilously close to their homes, fencing destroyed by racing vehicles, and messes left by raucous spectators. There have even been several injuries and deaths resulting from street racing and sliding.
City leaders and law enforcement have taken steps to crack down in recent months, including
- Initiating citations not just against drivers, but onlookers as well
- “Road Diets” that involve blocking off streets that are popular with racers
- Impounding involved vehicles
The resulting numbers are impressive – even though racers and spectators tend to assault responding officers with bottles and firecrackers, police have answered 8,400 9-1-1- calls for street racing in 2020, issued thousands of citations, made 1,200 arrests, seized of 48 guns, towed 659 vehicles, and recovered of 34 stolen vehicles. And yet, the problem remains so persistent and pervasive that the council considered making street racing a priority one call for 9-1-1, but Dallas Police advised against this measure. They discussed seizing cars permanently, but the current ordinances don’t support that. And it seems the more police break up races, they just reassemble other places (including Lake Highlands).
Several neighbors have contacted board members to inquire about the races in Lake Highlands and within earshot of our neighborhood. We are working with city leaders to keep apprised. What Dallas police will do for now, according to a report made to city leaders in December, is consult with other cities combatting street racing, continue with “Operation Road Diet,” and seek further support through legislative tools.