Street racing has been a part of America’s pop culture for decades. Movies like “Grease”, “Rebel without a Cause” and “The Fast and the Furious” have become legends. But would they have been as entertaining if passengers were ejected from the cars, if they hit innocent pedestrian or the car exploded upon impact? A new Liberty Mutual/ SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions) study just came out with some shocking statistics regarding illegal street racing. Between 2001 and 2006, 804 fatalities were reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA.
Southern California has a serious problem with illegal street racing and now is passing tougher penalties for violations. If convicted for street racing, you automatically will face prison time up to 6 months and a $1000 fine. If someone is injured, you could face several years in prison for manslaughter.
A recent high profile case here in Orange County involved a young man, Ahmed Dakhil, who was street racing in Fountain Valley. His vehicle hit another car, killing a young 10 year old girl and causing serious injuries to the rest of the cars’ occupants. He was later sentenced to six years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. Dakhil had four prior speeding citations.
Another recent incident involved two brothers from Anaheim travelling down Santa Ana Canyon road. They were travelling through one of Orange County’s pretty, but windy country roads at over 90mph. The driver, Justin Simpkins died at the scene when his car veered off the road and hit a telephone pole. His brother was “luckier”. He flew out of the vehicle and had serious injuries but was expected to live.
Both of the above cases involved young men with bright futures. Would anything have stopped them from racing? In fact the above SADD study concluded that in most cases, a driver would have slowed down if the passengers would have only spoken up. Fifty percent of passengers do speak up but that leaves 50% that do not. Teen friends have more influence than they think and it’s important to not “go along with the crowd”. Most racers, 73% admitted that they knew the behavior was dangerous but because of peer pressure, continued on. In this study, teens said they would stop racing, speeding, texting and talk on their cell phones, only they were never asked to do so. Young adults need to have some accountability for their actions, but their friends need to speak up as well.
A few other tactics are working well to reduce illegal street racing and serious injuries. One is RaceLegal, which runs programs here in California and throughout the country, facilitates programs to allow street racers to get their adrenaline rush safely through government grants to communities. These communities are actually allowing “legal racing” in stadiums for a small fee. Other cities such as Ontario, California will actually crush impounded cars that are caught involved in illegal street racing. These strategies seem to be working in their respective communities as a deterrent.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a speeding driver, or in fact any type of car accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie offer a free consultation and will answer your questions thoroughly and with professional expertise. Their group of personal injury attorneys has years of experience to save you time and frustration. Call us at 1 888 752-7474 for a consultation. We have represented clients in some of the most horrific accidents caused by street racing in Orange County California.