Street racing, often referred to as drag racing, is motor racing on public roads. It can be a planned, coordinated event or a spontaneous competition. However, it is illegal and dangerous. Yet, despite its illegality and danger, it has become a popular “underground” sport.
According to police department lists, street racing can lead to a number of detrimental consequences, including fatalities. Traffic collisions are highly prevalent in street racing, and can lead to deaths. There has also been an increased in gang-related actions and activity as a result of street racing. Drag racing sometimes occurs on private property, leading to trespassing violations. Property loss resulting from theft and vandalism has also been associated with street racing. Other detrimental consequences have been associated with illegal drag racing as well. These include curfew violations, drugs, insurance fraud, cruising violations and warranty fraud.
Injuries and fatalities are common with racing, which is one of the reasons why it is so risky. Most vehicles participating in illegal racing competitions lack the professional safety equipment that is needed to protect the driver in case of a collision. These include roll cages and racing fuel cells. The cars are not professionally built with frames or seat belts strong enough to withstand a collision. Most “amateur” drivers do not wear protective fire suits nor wear helmets. Street racing also puts other people at risk. Since this type of racing is generally conducted on strips or public roads, people in the vicinity are in harm’s way should an accident, collision or fire occur. Since street racing takes place on public roads, there are no safety barriers to protect the spectators watching the race. With such excessive speeds, street racers are unable to quickly avoid a bystander because they don’t have enough reaction time. Street racing also places a very high value on fast vehicles. Because “fast” cars or parts needed for “fast” cars are generally expensive, there is the temptation to steal parts or cars to fuel this activity.
Many street racers drive their cars at more than 100 miles per hour and often as high as the vehicle will go. A non-professional may not be trained in how to handle a car at such excessive speeds, thus, there is risk that they may lose control of the car at those high speeds. They are also generally not trained in high-performance driver or understanding of techniques to avoid injury, collision or a fatality.
In addition to all these safety risks and dangers, it is also illegal. Although the penalties may vary by state, there is legal consequences to participating. Some street racers may only get a speeding ticket. However, other drivers may get their drivers license suspended or car impounded. In some cases, a street racer may be handed out jail time.