CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are working to keep cars used in illegal streets stunts off the roads.
The effort comes after the Chicago City Council gave the green light in July on a new drag racing ordinance to crack down on drag racing and drifting across the city.
The ordinance, championed by downtown 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, empowers police to impound vehicles used in such stunts - whether or not the vehicle's owner is present. Lawmakers are also working on a new proposed bill that would not only target the drivers in these stunts, but also spectators, making it illegal and a felony to take part in the gatherings.
Last weekend, CPD said they impounded seven vehicles in connection to the dangerous activities. Since then, they said they have also identified an additional 44 vehicles to be seized under the new ordinance.
"Getting your car impounded is expensive enough, but those participating in the reckless and dangerous behavior of illegal drag racing and drifting face additional fines of up to $10,000," CPD said in a tweet.
The ordinance was tweaked to give owners the opportunity to provide proof that police mistakenly identified their vehicle or that it was stolen, but city leaders hope the new impoundment tool will send a message and curtail dangerous driving.
Videos of street takeovers and stunts that draw large crowds alerted to the spectacles on social media have been circulating recently. Many residents in these areas are frustrated and fed up.
A task force set up to combat drifting will be on the lookout this weekend for drivers trying to shut down intersections.
"If they don't have their cars, we don't have this problem," Chicago Police Superintendant David Brown said Friday. "So our efforts all culminate to do one thing. We're focused on taking the cars that are drag racing and drifting in Chicago, such that they can't do it again."
One state representative wants to amp up the penalties, filing legislation that would make people involved in drifting guilty of a felony mob action.
"These stunters they will not be performing these stunts if there's no one there to see them," said State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago. "And so they actually are part of the mob because they are coming together to create a show."
The law would carry a possible prison term between three to five years. Superintendent Brown is already on board.
"There's one message to him: hurry up, we need all the tools that we can get," Brown said.
Ford said there is support in Springfield for his proposal. He is hoping it could be voted on during this fall's veto session, and potentially go into effect before the end of the year.