Street Racing Places Lives at Risk

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Many thrill-seekers believe they have a need for speed. Unfortunately, some of them try to fulfill those desires by racing a car on a city street. Illegal street racing happens all too frequently throughout the country, and the consequences of such behavior can leave innocent people, including other motorists and pedestrians, seriously injured or killed in auto accidents.

In one example of the serious consequences of drag racing gone bad, last year in Georgia an infant was killed and his mother injured in an accident on I-20. A teenager, the mother’s friend, also died in that wreck.  On April 8, another Georgia motorist died in a suspected street racing accident in Gwinnett County, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

According to data collected by USA Today, 152 people were killed in 122 drag-racing crashes between 2001 and 2010. However, it’s difficult to know how accurate those numbers are because they are only considered to involve racing if at least one driver was actually charged with the offense. Previously, the NHTSA tracked an accident as “racing involved” if one driver was charged or if law enforcement suspected racing played a role in the wreck. Under those parameters, there were more than 1,000 racing deaths between 2001 and 2010, USA Today reported.

Street racing occurs in many different settings, although most frequently in urban areas. It may happen spontaneously among a few friends on a neighborhood street during a night of partying or in illegally organized events that even have spectators on the sidelines. Technology has made these semi-organized events more common, with young drivers arranging races via text and social media to gather participants, according to law enforcement agencies.

The fact that racing is most prevalent in urban areas is particularly disturbing because there is likely to be more traffic on the roads and more fixed objects that could be struck if a driver loses control, such as light posts and signs. A 2004 study found that racing accidents involved not only excessive speeds, but also alcohol – a deadly combination.

There Are Places to Race Legally In Georgia

Lawmakers in several states – including Georgia – have sought to find solutions to limit the likelihood of accidents and still allow drivers to get their thrills.

Places like the Atlanta Dragway offer Year One Fast Friday events where any licensed driver can pay to use the track in a controlled environment. The dragway also offers “Test and Tune” events so that drivers can get pointers on racing safely and understand how their vehicles may respond in certain scenarios.

Although speed is a frequent contributor in thousands of serious motor vehicle accidents, having an organized area to race minimizes safety risks to other motorists and the public at large.

To read the statute addressing street racing in Georgia, click here.

If you or a family member has been injured in what you believe was a racing-related auto collision, the trial lawyers at James M. Poe, P.C. can help you determine whether you have the ability to hold someone accountable for your injuries.

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