JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Burnouts, doughnuts and loud engines are a lifestyle for car club members like Lukas Lopez with the 904 Banditz.
“We’re just all genuinely getting together to have a good time,” Lopez said.
A state senate committee recently approved a bill to make it a first-degree misdemeanor to participate in a street takeover, street racing, or stunt driving — like burnouts or doughnuts — as a driver, passenger or spectator who deliberately attends an event.
If the bill passes, violators could face fines between $500 and $1,000. Lopez said the car clubs are now pushing to find a place for their meet-ups that won’t disrupt the community.
“There are cities like up in Atlanta, Detroit, even Orlando, that has their own racetrack-burnout pit where it is safe for the people, it is legal for the city,” said Lopez.
Recently, the I-TEAM has looked into complaints from around Jacksonville about the meet-ups by different car clubs. Some say they are loud and dangerous causing thousands of dollars in damages to a strip mall parking lot off Parental Home Road and leaving behind tire marks in vacant parking lots. Some people took videos of drivers doing doughnuts in the middle of downtown.
The 904 Banditz say they have anywhere between 300 to thousands of people at their car meet-ups.
“It’s not that we disregard safety. Everyone knows the rules whenever they come out and we try not to disrespect the police or anything like that,” said Lopez.
We asked Lopez if the car club would be avoiding areas where residents have made complaints.
“Yeah definitely. We try to stay away from major neighborhoods or anything like that so we don’t get the complaints to get called in,” said Lopez. “We’ve switched to mainly just parking lots, any vacant parking lots.”
Lopez feels the community would be in a better place if the car clubs had a safe and legal space for their meet-ups.
The 904 Banditz says they have emailed Gov. Ron DeSantis about finding a space for their car meet-ups that is safe and legal. They also plan to reach out to the city.