LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The city of Lufkin is trying to get traction behind a new ordinance outlawing "peeling out." Some do it to show off. Others call it an adrenaline rush. Either way law enforcement say their hands are tied when it comes to curbing the problem.
They spin their tires for no reason but fun.
"You get a bit of an adrenaline rush," said driver Jeremy Fontenot.
Some self-proclaimed junkies say it's a cheap thrill.
"I've peeled out before," said Fontenot. "It's just messing around with friends, just to have fun."
Others say it's not worth it.
"It's irresponsible and dangerous to other people around," said driver Whitni Pryor.
"It does cause a lot of people to get hurt or get killed," said Department of Public Safety spokesman Greg Sanches. "Especially around East Texas-- the fact that they're on these back roads, they're playing around, spinning their tires and they lose control a lot of times and run off the road and hit a tree."
Tuesday the Lufkin City Council discussed the police department's proposal to crack down on "exhibitions of acceleration" or peeling out.
According to a letter from Assistant Chief Gerald Williamson, the only Texas state law that covers peel outs is a class B misdemeanor.
In 2003 the state legislature altered the language of the law to make the penalty tougher. It was unintentionally changed so that peeling out was no longer illegal unless the driver was drag racing.
"The state left us no alternative except to arrest the person and give them a $1,500 bond. In this case now we can give them a ticket and they can be on their way," said Councilman Victor Travis.
If the ordinance passes, drivers popping wheelies and spinning their tires would face a class C misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $500.
"It's fair because everyone spinning their tires is not actually trying to race," said Travis.
Once a law, officers would have the final judgment call. Their hope-- risky drivers will realize it's not worth their tires, or lives.
The first reading for the ordinance passed Tuesday night. City Council will discuss the ordinance again in two weeks. If approved, the peeling-out ordinance would take-effect immediately.
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