Chicago street takeover laws you should know.

Street takeovers are dangerous for those who organize these “events” and for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, or any others who get caught while traveling the targeted road. Law enforcement agencies have taken action to stop Chicago street takeover occurrences, and those who take part in unlawful events can face legal consequences. If you are hurt or involved in an accident during a street takeover in Chicago, reach out for help from a Chicago car accident lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.

Red sports car drifting during a Chicago street takeover

What is a Chicago street takeover?

A street takeover is a massive gathering of people–usually teens and young adults–on a public road. These meetups are arranged via social media and word-of-mouth. The crowds meet at intersections to watch as reckless drivers, the stars of the takeover, drag race, rev their engines, “burn rubber,” and perform 360% spins or “donuts.” Drivers may spin their tires to create thick clouds of smoke and perform other stunts that put themselves and others in danger.

Cars often take the leading role in Chicago street takeovers, but enthusiasts of other vehicles have joined the trend, including those who ride motorcycles, souped-up electric bicycles, and ATVs. A street takeover in Chicago, or any city, essentially takes over taxpayer-funded roads, causes traffic jams, and creates opportunities for traffic accidents and other violence. At some takeovers, those involved have set off fireworks, come with firearms, or set cars on fire.

A quick Internet search of Chicago street takeovers reveals the disturbing outcomes the events often produce. Outcomes include property damage, injuries from car accidents, violence that breaks out among participants, and tragic deaths.

Are there laws against Chicago street takeovers?

Illinois has laws prohibiting the activities involved in street takeovers. The Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 11-506 addresses “Street racing; aggravated street racing; street sideshows.” The statute defines “street sideshow” as “an event in which one or more vehicles block or impede traffic on a street or highway, for the purpose of performing unauthorized motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, or motor vehicle exhibitions of speed.”

The law prohibits:

  • Engaging in street racing on any street or highway in Illinois
  • Engaging in a street sideshow on any street or highway in Illinois
  • Vehicle owners from using or allowing their vehicles to be used in street racing or sideshows
  • Knowingly interfering with the flow of traffic or slowing or stopping the flow of traffic to facilitate street racing or sideshows.

The statute includes an extensive definition of street racing. Motor vehicle stunts covered and prohibited by the law include, but are not limited to:

  • Causing the vehicle to slide or spin
  • Driving close to spectators
  • Executing maneuvers to show the vehicle’s performance capabilities
  • Performing maneuvers to elicit a response from spectators

Violating the statute brings a range of penalties depending on the seriousness of the offense and the offender’s criminal history. If you are injured in an accident in a Chicago street takeover, you can hold the offending parties accountable through a personal injury claim in civil court whether or not they face criminal charges. A Chicago car accident lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will investigate your situation, work to identify the at-fault party, and fight to hold that party accountable for compensating you for your losses.

What other laws do we know address Chicago street takeovers?

Those involved in street takeovers also violate Illinois public nuisance laws. Under Illinois Statute 47-5 (5),  it is illegal “to obstruct or encroach upon public highways, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, and ways to burying places.”

Some street takeover participants have also faced Illinois mob action charges. Mob action charges apply when two or more people:

  • Act together without the authority of law to knowingly or recklessly use force or violence to disturb the public peace
  • Knowingly gather with the intent “to commit or facilitate the commission” of an unlawful act
  • Knowingly gather without the authority of law to commit violence to “the person or property of anyone supposed to have been guilty of a violation of the law” or to exercise “correctional” or “regulative” powers over another person through violence.

You should not pay for someone else’s crime.

Despite the laws against Chicago street takeovers, the events continue to the detriment of all Chicagoans. If you sustain an injury or someone you love is killed because of a street takeover, connect with an experienced, attentive Chicago car accident lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. Reach out for a free consultation with a message or a call at (800) 985-1819.

While law enforcement deals with the at-fault party’s criminal behavior, we will fight to hold them accountable in civil court, demanding they compensate you for the losses their recklessness has caused you. The offender may owe a criminal debt to society, but they owe you compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional costs you have incurred from their irresponsible, dangerous actions.