Bill that cracks down on ‘street meetups’ awaits Md. governor’s signature

Fairfax Co. police ‘narrowly escaped line-of-duty death’ in chaotic ‘street takeover,’ chief says
Among the hundreds of bills passed during Maryland’s General Assembly session is one that’s designed to crack down on the street meetups that have caused worries over safety and blocked roadways.

House bill 601 was sponsored by Maryland Del. Mary Lehman, who told her colleagues the bill would increase fines from $500 to $1,000 and assess eight to 12 points on a driver’s license, depending on whether “bodily injury” results from the infraction.

“This is the same penalty that someone would get for a DUI,” Lehman said at a February hearing. “This is noteworthy because eight points results in suspension of a license, 12 points results in revocation.”

From downtown Silver Spring in Montgomery County to Cheverly in Prince George’s County, concerns about car meetups — where drivers speed and do doughnuts and burnouts — have been growing. In some cases, the events block off entire sections of roadways while crowds stand within feet of the speeding vehicles.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz told WTOP the problem isn’t restricted to just one or two counties.

“Throughout the DMV, every city is going through this,” he said.

The driving behavior is “reckless and erratic,” Aziz said, with participants “hanging out of windows, they’re riding on hoods,” and he said people have been struck in some cases.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s held two bill signing ceremonies since the end of the legislative session; two more are scheduled in May. Once signed into law, HB601 would go into effect June 1.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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