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The dangerous and deadly need for speed


The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic saw people taking fewer risks. Mask-wearing and social distancing became the norm. More people started greeting each other with elbow touches instead of handshakes. But not all were interested in minimizing the chance of harm.

In fact, many have gone to extreme levels by engaging in a highly dangerous activity that has become fashionable. It also puts people at risk of serious injuries or death.

The return of street racing

Once popular decades ago and still the subject of movies, street racing has made a comeback. Nationwide, its popularity continues to grow. While police are doing their best to prevent these races and arrest those who participate in them, enthusiasts with the “need for speed” continue to find ways to evade detection. Even legislators are taking steps to pass laws that increase the severity of racing on public streets.

When the global health crisis breached U.S. borders, people remained at home due to a combination of remote work options and the mass closure of businesses, including restaurants. Roads that were once filled with vehicles of all sizes now became empty and with fewer law enforcement officers patrolling them.

The “new normal” became a perfect storm for drag racers. Not only could they let off steam, but they had the opportunity to congregate with like-minded drivers in a social activity where danger was welcomed, not discouraged.

Soon, city streets and industrial neighborhoods served as racetracks, with some racers blocking roads and interstates to keep police officers away. As with any other trend, images popped up on social media, providing a bright spotlight to attract even more racers.

The death toll continues to climb as not only racers are killed, but also non-racers who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. As with any activity, alcohol consumption is part of the experience, impairing drivers traveling at significant speeds.

While criminal laws enhancing legal consequences increase in many states, victims and grieving loved ones are also looking for options after life-changing collisions. Any form of negligent driving that results in injuries or lives lost requires a different type of justice.