The Dumas Police Department (DPD) intends to put a stop to drag racing in the parking lot of McDade Park and the surrounding streets, according to Motor Officer Allen Garland. "They will be charged with the appropriate offense, whether it is racing or reckless driving. If they are caught racing, they will be charged with racing, which is a Class B misdemeanor," said Garland.
The Texas legislature in 2003 upgraded racing from a traffic violation to a more serious offense. A Class B misdemeanor for racing carries a punishment of up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. The presence of alcohol or children increases the punishment, and the second offense puts the offender in jeopardy for up to a $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in prison. If someone is injured or killed, the punishment increases even more. Three people were killed in two separate racing incidents in Dallas earlier this summer. In addition, people convicted of racing automatically loses their driver's license until they successfully perform 10 hours of community service. Racers can also have their vehicle impounded and have to pay to get it back.
Garland says incidents and reports of racing around the park have increased recently, though he does not think the races are organized. "We have had more reports of racing, and we have noticed more donut marks, more black marks. It does get out of hand. We provide enforcement, but as soon as we get busy, it picks back up," he said. "This is a problem that will not be tolerated any longer. People are getting tired of it. They can't go to the park in the evenings and feel safe."
Garland says the DPD will get a handle on the problem. "The citizens of Dumas need to be able to enjoy the park and all it has to offer without being in fear of vehicles, speed, and dangerous activity," Garland wrote in a Facebook post on the DPD Facebook page.