By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Deterring reckless driving and drag racing is the intent of a vehicular nuisance ordinance amendment, for which the City Council held its first reading July 12.
The amendment to the code of ordinances would declare reckless driving and racing on city streets a nuisance, which city officials would discourage through vehicle impoundment and forfeiture, as well as the confiscation of tools, equipment and racing proceeds.
The council increased the penalties for reckless driving violations in April 2022, and recently funded the procurement of speed bumps and humps in its new fiscal year budget.
Police statistics for 2017 through 2021 indicate that Dearborn has had an average of 84 reckless driving tickets and 22 drag racing tickets issued annually.
Wayne County has a reckless driver ordinance, but it is more focused on deterring organized racing events.
Dearborn’s proposed ordinance takes a broader approach, focusing on dangerous driving that disregards the safety of people and property, and includes maneuvers such as drifting, sliding, doughnuts and burnouts, as well as racing.
A redemption fee schedule would allow vehicle owners to recover their seized vehicle, subject to the approval of the Wayne County Prosecutor or the city’s corporate counsel, for $900 for the first seizure, $1,800 for a second seizure and $2,700 for a third seizure, as well as possible litigation costs arising from civil actions related to the forfeiture.
City officials hope the ordinance will help abate reckless driving and drag racing.
A second public reading at an upcoming city council meeting will be required prior to the ordinance’s passage.
The ordinance would provide civil as opposed to criminal penalties.
The owner of a seized vehicle would be able to contest the action at the circuit court level. The ordinance also allows for a settlement agreement between the parties.
Statistical comparison of statistics for reckless driving and drag racing before and after the implementation of the ordinance will serve as a compliance and performance metric.