In 2013, two drivers arrived at a gas station near the Capital Beltway, one in a brand new Chevy Camaro, the other in a Volkswagen Passat. When they left the gas station, the two began to rev their engines at each other and eventually engaged in an illegal street race down Georgia Avenue. At the precise moment the Camaro’s black-box technology recorded the driver going 106 miles per hour, a third car carrying a family crossed Georgia Avenue. The two cars slammed into the family’s vehicle one after the other, splitting the vehicle in two and ejecting the family from the car.
Only one woman survived with serious injuries, while her daughter, husband and brother all were pronounced dead on the scene. Both of the reckless drivers were sentenced to 20 years in prison for negligent homicide with a motor vehicle as of last month.
Illegal Street Racing Can Result in Catastrophic Injuries or Death
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, illegal street racing is listed in the top 25 causes of car crashes and is particularly dangerous because races are six times more likely to occur at speeds greater than 65 miles per hour than any other fatal car crash. In a typical street race, two vehicles will align side-by-side, both accelerate until they reach top speeds or a destination, regardless of traffic regulations or whether other cars, cyclists or pedestrians are in their way. Generally speaking, these illegal street racing occurs under the following circumstances:
- The highest levels of participation are by males between 15 and 23 years old
- Approximately 70 percent of racing occurs at night
- A large percentage of street racing cars are modified to travel at even higher velocities, making the crashes more deadly
- The races can be spontaneous competitions between random drivers, sometimes involving road rage on public roads
- In other instances, races are planned where groups of drivers take over roads
Due to the high speed and unpredictable nature of illegal street racing, accidents that result can cause catastrophic injuries and are often deadly. Drivers who engage in street racing place themselves and anyone in the vicinity in danger.
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. is a personal injury law firm that helps victims who were injured in transportation incidents in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.