Street Racing It would seem that the import car scene is becoming one of the largest trends in the automotive industry since the introduction of the assembly line. Nearly every manufacturer of vehicles has a sport compact car in the market. Teenagers and other young adults are customizing and “souping” these cars up for purposes that no car was intended for, illegal street racing. These speed contests on public roads are a danger to anything and everything on the roads, including the driver.
The problem is these adolescents think it is fun to and show off their cars and race.
They neglect the fact that there are alternatives to illegal street racing, like the drag strip. They also ignore the major consequences involved with the law. But the biggest problem with illegal street racing is the disrespect for public safety because; people are being killed each day by these acts. Illegal street racing is dangerous and should not be tolerated on any public roads where innocent people can be harmed.
There is no doubt the sport compact car scene is a big phenomena. Teens are showing off their cars at shows everywhere. However, after the show, they are taking these cars to the street for some late night racing.
Of course street racing has been around ever since the introduction of the internal-combustion engine. But the races of today are nothing like they were years earlier. State Patrol Sergeant D. J. Brown admits to being a street racer in the 1970s and says: “Teens could drink a few beers, race souped-up cars on deserted, dead-end rural roads and eventually they would be shooed home around 2 a. m. by tolerant police officers (qtd. in Wheeler). ” Now the scene is very different. Most of this is blamed on a movie titled “The Fast and the Furious” which models its characters in the movie after street racers.
People are drawn in by thrills they see in the movie and acting it out on public roads. As to most situations, there are alternatives to illegal speed contest. Drag racing on supervised tracks is a safe environment where two cars can be staged in a head-to-head race, usually on quarter-mile strips. The National Hot Rod Association, NHRA, is an organization that has been around for fifty years. The NHRA made drag racing a championship sport in 1951 to help take racing off the streets. They are the world’s largest motor sports organization with more than eighty thousand members and 5,500 nationwide events.
The NHRA now has a race series for import cars. They are hoping this series will give people a place to race other than the streets. The NHRA, along with its member tracks, offers the “NHRA Safety Program” that provides tracks for enthusiast to race as well as become educated on the perils of street racing. A similar program, the “Castrol GTX Junior Drag Series”, is designed for eight through seventeen-year-olds to allow them to compete in races, as well as teach them the dangers of racing at a young age (“NHRA”). Another such organization is called RaceLegal. com. This sanctioning body is located in San Diego, California.
Their approach to the situation was to combine the safe alternative of drag strips with the help of local law enforcement. RaceLegal holds a minimum of 30 annual, well-advertised, eighth-mile drag racing events at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. Positive results are already being shown. The goal of this agency is to reduce the incidence of street racing by thirty percent, injuries associated with racing by fifty percent, and help uphold the law by educating about San Diego’s “Zero Tolerance” rules (RaceLegal. com). Every action has a consequence, whether it is good or it is bad. It turns out endangering others has bad consequences.
And local authorities are not taking illegal street racing lightly. More than ever, police officers are cracking down on racers. Cars are being impounded and held for thirty days at the owners cost. Penalties in Philadelphia are up to a five thousand dollar fine, and San Diego now has fines of $975 and impoundment cost of $855. Add to this that drivers can loose their license for six months and possibly do community service. Los Angeles has even formed a special street racing task force and is attacking these racers at full throttle. The unit gave out 259 citations at one location in one weekend (Wood).
The Toronto police have also formed there own program called P. A. C. E. R. , Police and Community Educating Racers. Toronto is ranked among the highest in North America for illegal speed contest with several hundred local participants, hundreds more that are drawn there from all over Southern Ontario and the United States, plus the hundreds more in attendance. The program has already cited many drivers; one weekend saw as many as 401 charged including twenty-five criminal charges. Most of the offenses were committed by people holding G1 and G2 licenses, which happen to be the least experienced behind the wheel (“Street Racers”).
But drivers are not the only ones the law is after, spectators of these races are also being ticketed. Laws have been passed saying that just watching a race can be punishable by a $250 fine. The Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee is now trying to pass a law making it misdemeanor and punishable by six months in jail and a one thousand dollar fine for being a spectator to a race on public streets. Councilman Ralph Inzunza Junior says, “We have to do something that’s very strong, that’s going to get people’s attention. ” Spectators are said to be the antagonist behind racing.
They will trash talk and use peer pressure to provoke more races (Huard). The safety and respect of the public is no concern to street racers. These groups are terrorizing the streets with their loud and flashy cars. Groups of racers are not always endangering people on roads though. They have to entertain themselves while waiting for other races to occur, and their late night mischief is also becoming a burden on society. There can be hundreds of spectators waiting at certain areas for action. This can be trouble sometimes as there may be gangs present in these groups. Fights do break out and weapons are sometimes used.
Vandalism is also taking place, thousands of dollars in one night to landscape and signs sometimes (Powers). But more important than these petty things on the side, racers do not realize the harm they are putting themselves, passengers, spectators, as well as the innocent bystanders in. With every race that occurs, that is at least two lives at risk of injury or even death. Margarita Estrada is living with the pain of loosing nearly half her family due to a race. A street racer crossed double yellow lines and killed her husband and her son, and also severely injured her other two daughters. It’s a public street, and it shouldn’t have happened. I would never want this to happen to another family just because people are irresponsible. ” In the year two-thousand, there were 1. 6 million crashes nationwide involving sixteen to twenty year olds. Of those, 7,607 resulted in fatalities (Aguilera). And these crashes are making front page news. In Oceanside, New York, a crash involving a Lamborghini that went head on with another car, killing one, while racing a Corvette was all over the news. And in the same weekend, another street racing related accident claimed two more lives.
Studies by the San Diego State University are now showing the fatality rates among young racers is at six and a half per one thousand. The fatality rate among all drivers is one per one thousand (Wood). These numbers are shockingly high, and mostly due to the dangers of street racing. Jesse Nolan is another racer who is now paying for decision he made three years ago to race. “I lost control of my car and hit a good buddy of mine. He died. We were all into cars… it was an adrenaline rush. I was probably up to 80 mph before I started sliding. ” Nolan hit his friend who was a spectator on the sides.
He is serving four years in prison and three years of parole for vehicular homicide. “There aren’t any second chances, you have to think what could happen to yourselves, your families, and other people watching a drag race,” Nolan states (Wheeler). Illegal street racing is a very harmful “sport” to everyone on the roads. With powerful machines in the hands of teens that want to show off their cars by racing on public streets, no body can be safe. The alternatives are out there, but many are too lazy or uneducated about the safe way to do things.
People think they are invincible form the long arm of the law, but will eventually be caught. And with many young and innocent lives lost each day to something foolish, action needs to be taken now. Illegal street racing is more dangerous than ever and absolutely cannot be tolerated on any roads. It is called “illegal” street racing for a reason, illegal is almost always an immediate term for something not good. But is anybody willing to make a stand and stop themselves or someone they know, or even help in any way possible to stop street racing. Or would people rather become a statistic.
Cite this Illegal Street Racing
Illegal Street Racing. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/illegal-street-racing/