Street racing in Missouri – it is a crime just watch



Street racing, an exciting yet dangerous activity, has become a growing concern in Missouri. As engines roar and tires screech, participants push the limits of speed and excitement. But what about those who just watch from the sidelines? Is it a crime to be a Viewer at these illegal races? Let’s get into the legal world of surrounding street racing in Kansas City and explore the consequences for both drivers and onlookers.

Understanding Street Racing Laws in Missouri

Street racing is unequivocally illegal in Missouri. The state has stringent laws that penalize those who participate in or organize these races. The primary laws governing street racing in Missouri include:

  • Careless Driving: Engaging in a race on public roads is considered Careless driving, a serious offense that can lead to hefty fines and jail time.
  • Speeding Violations: Street racers often exceed speed limits, which constitutes a speeding violation with additional penalties due to the context of racing.

The Scene: Kansas City’s Underbelly of Speed

Kansas City, known for its vibrant culture and bustling streets, harbors a darker side—the clandestine world of street racing. Under the cover of night, racers converge on empty stretches of asphalt, turning them into impromptu racetracks. The Power and Light District, once a hub for nightlife, now hosts these high-speed showdowns. But as engines rev, danger looms not only for the drivers but also for the unsuspecting bystanders.

The Law: Watching Isn’t Innocent

Kansas City ordinances leave no room for ambiguity: watching or participating in street racing—commonly referred to as “sideshows”—is strictly forbidden. Whether you’re behind the wheel or standing on the curb, the law applies equally. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Drivers Caught in the Act:

  • First-time offenders face fines of up to $150 and up to 30 days in jail.
  • Penalties double for repeat offenders.
  • A third offense can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to six months behind bars.
  1. Spectators Beware:

  • Those watching the dangerous races aren’t off the hook.
  • Anyone in the crowd can be ticketed and fined up to $100.
  • The message is clear: safety takes precedence, and illegal racing won’t be tolerated.

Balancing Enforcement and Due Process

While cracking down on street racing, Kansas City authorities aim to strike a delicate balance. The new city law empowers police officers to impound vehicles involved in sideshows, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all policy. Minors using their parents’ cars may escape impoundment, but penalties remain in place.

Concerns and Controversies

Councilman Brandon Ellington raises valid concerns. He worries that alleged spectators might be unfairly targeted, potentially compromising due process. As we combat the menace of street racing, we must safeguard individual rights and avoid unintended consequences.

The Human Toll

Beyond legalities, street racing extracts a human toll. The last summer, an unsanctioned sideshow turned tragic when a 19-year-old woman lost her life to a gunshot. These races, once thrilling escapades, now leave scars on our city’s streets.

Street Racing in Missouri: Is It a Crime to Just Watch?

Street racing is a dangerous and illegal activity that endangers both participants and bystanders. In Missouri, the legality of merely watching street racing events is a topic of significant concern. This article delves into the intricacies of Missouri laws surrounding street racing, particularly focusing on the legal implications for spectators.

Penalties for Street Racers

Street racers in Missouri face severe penalties, including:

  • Fines: Substantial financial penalties are imposed on those caught racing.
  • Jail Time: Repeat offenders or those involved in particularly dangerous races may face imprisonment.
  • License Suspension: Racing can lead to the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license.
  • Vehicle Impoundment: Vehicles used in street racing can be impounded by law enforcement.


In Missouri, street racing is a serious crime with severe penalties for participants. While the legal risks for mere spectators are less severe, they are not entirely absent. Spectators who facilitate or encourage races can face criminal charges, and even passive spectators may find themselves in legal trouble under certain conditions. Beyond legal ramifications, the ethical and safety concerns make it clear that street racing is an activity best avoided entirely.

Missouri’s laws reflect the state’s commitment to public safety and its zero-tolerance stance on street racing. It is imperative for individuals to understand these laws and the potential consequences of even passive involvement in such dangerous activities.

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