While illegal street racing was around before the 2000s, the release of the film The Fast and the Furious made the activity explode with popularity. Within several areas around the United States, young individuals began forming groups to bet on which car was faster. Unfortunately, money was not the only thing they were gambling.
Between 2001 and 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated there were around 153 killed in crashes from street races. If they broaden what counts as a street racing fatality, there were over 1,000 deaths between 2001 and 2008. These illegal activities have been showing no signs of slowing down, and southern California is one of the top spots for racers to burn rubber.
The struggle of the police
A recent article by The Guardian highlights the difficulties police officers have with stopping numerous street races around California. The California highway patrol began tracking activity around 2016 after realizing how many fatalities it was causing. They recorded over 700 races a year in Los Angeles alone with races that can go up to 30 or 40 vehicles. While they have found success in stopping races near larger cities, they have a harder time with vast stretches of roads or areas with lower populations.
The article also highlighted various deaths that happened within the last couple of years from street racing. This includes two young boys on a Riverside road back in May, a UPS delivery truck driver in downtown Los Angeles in 2016, and a 15-year-old in 2015 at the same area where the UPS driver died. These are only just a few of the reported deaths that came from these dangerous games.
How you can avoid them
While it is difficult to predict where street races can be, there are a few common elements. One officer in the article mentioned that popular spots are around intersections with minimal traffic and law enforcement.
They tend to occur on vast stretches of road late at night, so you need to be especially careful driving around that time if you live near Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego or San Francisco. These four cities are considered some of the most popular street racing locations in the country. Racers block the paths of some roadways with their own vehicles to minimize interference.
Getting struck by a street racer carries far more risks than getting hit by a highway driver going slightly above the speed limit. Not only are they going far faster than they need to, but many of them are younger, inexperienced drivers who do not know proper safety precautions. If you or a loved one should be unlucky enough to receive major damages from them, a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim to recover from this careless crash.