Street Racing Crashes: A Closer Look At The Dangers And Devastation
A popular movie franchise that released its 12th film in 2023 has made street racing look sexy, cool, and exciting. What looks sleek and elegant on a big theater screen often ends up being dangerous and unforgiving in reality. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2018 and hosted by the National Library of Medicine, approximately 13% of adolescents participate in street racing as either drivers or passengers. Street racing participants are disproportionately likely to be male, to belong to racial or ethnic minorities, and to have low socioeconomic status. They are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors. Unfortunately, street racing is a severely neglected area of research, so information about how many of these races end in an accident is not widely available. What is known is that street racing crashes have more significant injuries and more severe property damage than an average motor vehicle accident, due to the high speeds and loss of maneuverability.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Street Racing Accidents?
As the name implies, street racing is done on the surface streets of cities and towns. While there are still dangers associated with racing on a designated racetrack, street racing is considerably more dangerous due to the public roads on which the events take place.
Some of the most common causes of street racing crashes include:
- Ignoring traffic signals and signs: Street racing drivers ignore traffic lights and signs, drive through intersections without looking both ways, and engage in other dangerous driving habits and can crash into the vehicle they are racing, other vehicles on the road, or nearby property.
- High speeds: Speeds as low as 10 mph over the limit, can cause an accident. Higher speeds make it more difficult or risky to perform maneuvers and avoid other cars or obstacles in the road, which increases the chances of an accident, including rollover accidents.
- Driving under the influence (DUI): Driving while intoxicated is dangerous under ordinary circumstances. When the driver is under the influence and engaging in a street race, the danger increases even more.
- Rain and weather: Different weather means different roads. Rain in particular creates slippery roads, which in turn can cause skidding, leading to accidents. Add in high speeds from street racing and the chances of an accident occurring become even higher.
- Anger: Some street races are inspired by anger when one driver gets upset with another aggressive driver. This anger can lead to more aggressive driving during the street race, further increasing the odds of an accident.
What Are Common Injuries From Street Racing Crashes?
The injuries that result from street racing crashes are similar to those that occur from typical motor vehicle accidents. The high speeds of street racing may increase the severity of the injuries or the number of injuries a vehicle occupant receives.
Common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
What Are the Laws Regarding Street Racing?
The laws regarding street racing vary from state to state. Most states will charge drivers who participate in street races, and some states even have laws that penalize spectators of street races. According to Stop Street Racing, individuals may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and face penalties including:
- Jail time
- Vehicle impoundment
- License revocation
- Car insurance rate increase or policy cancellation
Is It Possible To Stop Illegal Street Racing?
There is no deterrent that will instantly stop street racing. However, with persistence and time, it may be possible to stop illegal street racing with tactics such as:
- Raising awareness of the problem by partnering with law enforcement and other safety groups
- Including information about the dangers in driver’s education programs and sponsoring educational campaigns
- Providing opportunities to move street racing from public roads to closed racetracks
- Reporting street racing when you see it happening
- Adding devices that would control maximum speed to passenger vehicles
- Narrowing the streets, reducing lanes, and introducing more green spaces so that urban streets are no longer as inviting to street racers
Street Racing Is Not Glamorous or Safe
Despite what street racing may look like on television and in the movies, it is not glamorous or safe. Street racing increases the chances of being in an accident and street racing crashes can result in even more significant injuries than ordinary highway collisions. The dangers of street racing expand beyond the vehicles involved and include spectators and innocent bystanders such as pedestrians. If you have been injured as an innocent bystander to a street race, you may want to speak with an attorney to learn how to protect your rights.
Chris has successfully represented numerous clients in catastrophic personal injury, employment law matters, class action, consumer protection, business tort, and legislative matters involving multi-million-dollar damages.