Odds are the majority of car enthusiasts are guilty of street racing. You are setting in your car at a red light waiting for the green, and it happens. Another car rolls up with a thumping cam and loud exhaust. You glance over at the guy that is staring at you as he smirks and gives his machine a quick rev. The willpower that it takes not to launch the car and bang through all of the gears is so intense that it’s impossible to put into words.
As the street cars get faster, they become more of a threat to other racers, spectators, as well as innocent bystanders. TX2K19 was hosted at Houston Raceway Park last week, and a host of wicked cars flooded the Houston area for the four-day event. After the race at the track ends, some of these cars make their way out onto the streets for some more competition. Over the four days, the police made 23 street racing arrests. One incident involved a 19-year old that was struck by a heavily modified fourth-gen Camaro. According to a tweet from Ed Gonzalas of the Houston County Sheriffs Department, “Racing is suspected to be a contributing factor in the crash.”While this is still under investigation, the driver might not have been racing anyone but it is apparent that the Camaro was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed. The 19-year old was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive. The driver of the Camaro was not hurt, but the car appears to be totaled.
Street racing, like everything else, has evolved over the years. What was once a few guys going out on the back roads to contest whose car is faster has now turned into an illegal organized competition. Faster and faster vehicles show up to race for big money which has made street racing more popular and possibly more dangerous than ever before.
So what’s changed? In the early days, cars were not as fast as they are currently. There was also no social media, Street Outlaws, cell phones, and certainly no YouTube video channels promoting street racing. All of these components have probably aided the popularity of this illegal activity. Twenty-five years ago, if you got busted for racing, you might get a ticket for exhibition of speed or reckless driving, but most of the time the authorities would tell you to go home. It wasn’t a misdemeanor at this point in most places, but with the release of the Fast and Furious films and the subsequent rise in street racing, things got severe as the penalties for this illegal sport were stiffened.
It’s obvious that the racetrack is the safest place to participate in racing, but the thrill of racing on the street outweighs this logical choice for most. If we don’t figure out a solution to this problem, the authorities will keep hammering down until they do. According to the California DMV, if you’re busted for racing on the street, you could be arrested and have your vehicle impounded for 30 days. If you’re convicted of street racing, aiding, or abetting a street race you could be fined for up to $1,000 and imprisoned for up to three months. Other penalties include revoked drivers licenses, cancellation of insurance or a dramatic increase in premium cost, and equipment violations. Even with these strict penalties in California, people are still racing. Some prefer the insane speeds in roll racing while others want to go from a dig. Either way, statistics show that it can be hazardous no matter what precautions are taken.
So what’s the fix? Stricter penalties will help some but racing is still an everyday occurrence on most streets. It can consist of two guys that randomly pull up at a stoplight or an organized event. We certainly don’t know what the solution is, but we want to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject.