Area officials back anti-hooning legislation to crack down on stunt driving

Dayton Mayor Mims: ‘It’s very much needed’

Dayton’s mayor said it’s only a matter of time before more people are killed in a hooning or stunt driving accident and he others are pushing for a stricter state law.

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims, Jr., Dayton Police Chief Kamran Azfal, and former Trotwood mayor Mary McDonald each urged the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to address hooning, which has been a thorn in the side of local police for the past three years, including a crash that killed four of five occupants of a single car in 2022.

Azfal said hooning is planned on social media and entails a group of cars blocking the regular flow of traffic in order to create space to perform burnouts, wheelies, drifting and tire-squealing — often while passengers hang dangerously outside the car.

“During these events, vehicle occupants would hang from the car, ride in the trunk, and under the open hood while the vehicles were doing doughnuts and burnouts,” Azfal said. “Spectators would stand in the middle of the intersection filming this activity and would livestream or post the video to various social media sites.”

Mims called hooning — which he referred to as “stunt driving” and “street takeovers” — as a tragic, reckless activity that has brought major threat to participants, bystanders, and police. Aside from the inherent danger of the act itself, participants and spectators often speed away from the scene when police show up, which has caused at least one serious injury of a Dayton police officer, according to Mims.



House Bill 56, which was brought forth by area Reps. Andrea White, R-Kettering, and Phil Plummer, R-Butler Twp., would make it illegal to participate in stunt driving; as well as to take over a street by blocking the flow of traffic. It passed in the House 83-6 with bipartisan support.

The bill’s creation of specific criminal offenses for hooning gives prosecutors a new tool to work with, said Lou Tobin of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which is in favor of the bill.

“Currently, the most appropriate charge for (hooning) is reckless operation, in most cases a fourth degree misdemeanor. This is for behavior that most often creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to numerous people,” Tobin said. “(H.B. 56) at least makes this dangerous activity a first-degree misdemeanor with a possible license suspension and points.”

McDonald, who testified that a friend of hers was killed in an accident caused by a driver who was street racing, said she hopes the legislation will serve as a deterrent from these acts of reckless driving.

“With higher penalties and the option to impound a car, wrongdoers might think twice before committing these acts of recklessness,” McDonald said.

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