Those Parking Lot Donuts Can Cost You Even if You’re Just Watching

If you’ve had a little fun doing donuts or a burn out in a parking lot in your Dodge Challenger or Charger, Ford Mustang or, Mazda MX-5 Miata, you’re definitely not the only one. In fact, countless drivers have let the rear break free and burned some rubber for loops and laughs. But those parking lot donuts could cost you.

The prototype Ford Mustang Mach-E drag race car doing a sideways burnout
Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400 prototype | Ford

Accord to Auto Guide, all three of these models are great for doing donuts. We obviously can’t recommend the practice. But hey, we get it. If you’re wondering if doing donuts is illegal, this information may prove helpful on your quest.

Are donuts illegal?

The practice of doing donuts isn’t specifically illegal. At least not according to any readily available resources. However, there is the chance that if you’re caught doing donuts in your Ford Mustang you can still get a citation and ultimately end up responsible for paying fines. These charges include things like reckless driving or endangering the public. Citations are largely up to police discretion, from what I understand. Donuts may seem tempting when you take to the streets in that Mazda MX-5 Miata. But you might want to think twice.

2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack overhead
2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack overhead | Dodge

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In addition, the severity of these charges varies depending on the presence of any civilians. Also, if doing donuts in your Dodge Challenger or Charger (or any other donut-friendly model) leads to any type of property damage, the citations can increase as the property owner is at that point within the right of pressing charges against the driver. For example, a warrant was issued this summer for a Marietta, Georgia driver who caused an alleged $1,500 or more of property damage.

Where can I do donuts legally?

In a Reddit discussion about doing donuts, we can see that several people say doing donuts on private property is totally OK––as long as the property owner has cleared the activity. Some drivers don’t want the law telling them not to do donuts in their Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger or Charger, or that Mazda MX-5 Miata. For them, it’s best to find some private property and get clear permission. Still, it’s always best to check city ordinances.

The driver of a white Dodge Challenger performs a burnout
The driver of a Dodge Challenger performs a burnout | HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP via Getty Images

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Depending on where said private property is, there is still the chance that sounds violations and other possible city ordinances can bring burning rubber to a halt. Overall, the most important issue here is safety. If any civilians are far out of the way, no property is damaged, and you have permission to do donuts, then you’ll be far less likely to receive any type of citation. That doesn’t exactly mean it’s guaranteed you’ll get off scot-free.

What about the spectators?

This year, some underground street racing and illegal car shows have emerged in several areas across the country. Like this one in California, these car shows have drawn hundreds of spectators out. Especially in places where stay at home orders are enforced due to the pandemic, you’re at risk of citations and fines even if you’re just watching. In Atlanta, Georgia, spectators can receive fines up to $1,000.

An orange Kia Stinger GTS performs a burnout
A Kia Stinger GTS performs a burnout | Kia

In Texas, these underground car shows have become rampant during the quarantine measures. Cities like Dallas have seen a surge in these underground activities since various pandemic-induced shutdowns and cancellations began. These sideshows include things like doing donuts. But it’s said they can also lead to more dangerous activities like street racing. Dallas city officials worry about civilian spectators.

A safe space

In addition, they worry about the surrounding areas and neighborhoods. These events can make some people feel unsafe. Interviewed participants of these sideshows feel people misunderstand the events.

In fact, some hope the city will help them procure a safe, legal area for the events. City officials say this is highly unlikely. Taking that modified Dodge Charger out for donuts or doing a quick burn out is a bit more complicated than you might have thought.