Most people are familiar with drag racing only in the movies. But drag racing happens in real life—and causes accidents that hurt people. Unfortunately, drag racing has become increasingly popular among urban youth in cities like Philadelphia, with drivers and spectators uploading footage of races on YouTube and other social media platforms.
The State of Pennsylvania has enacted laws to specifically address drag racing. Drag racing is illegal in Pennsylvania– not only to drive in a drag race, but to participate in any capacity. These laws define drag racing as two or more vehicles competitively attempting to outdistance each other while driving side by side at accelerating speeds. The “Racing on Highways” statute makes it illegal to engage in drag racing, even just as a spectator. Convicted participants are subject to a six-month suspension of license, fines, and the possibility of jail time.
The Need for Speed
Drag racing—or street racing—is obviously dangerous for the participants, who are all too often younger drivers. But it also frequently endangers other drivers and pedestrians, especially when drivers drag race on busy urban streets at night. Drag racing claims may be complicated and difficult to prove because the drivers involved typically will not admit to drag racing.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and suspect the driver who caused the accident may have been drag racing, you need skilled legal counsel to help navigate your claim. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we recognize the dangers of street races on our urban streets, and we’re here to help. Our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience, skill, and commitment to fight for your rights and help you recover fair compensation for your injuries.
The Fast and the Fatal
An article entitled The Fast and the Fatal in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), identifies several key factors common to drag racing fatalities:
- The drivers most likely to be involved in fatal drag racing accidents are male teenagers with poor driving histories.
- Street racing fatalities are almost six times more likely than other traffic fatalities to involve speeds that exceed 65 miles per hour.
- Impaired driving is a common factor in these accidents.
- Street racing fatalities are more likely to occur on urban surface streets – like the streets of Philadelphia.
Speed alone is deadly. As a driver’s speed increases, so too does the driver’s braking distance. This means that the driver’s available reaction time decreases – just when he or she needs it most. The NHTSA reports that in 2016, speed killed more than 10,000 people and accounted for more than a quarter of traffic fatalities overall. Speed has played a significant role in about a third of total traffic fatalities for more than 20 years.
When you mix excessive speeds with the other factors common to drag racing—young, often impaired drivers with poor driving histories racing on busy urban surface streets—you have a recipe for disaster.
Speeding and Its Consequences
According to the NHTSA, speed correlates directly with specific consequences:
- The driver increases the chances that he or she will lose control of the car.
- The severity of the accident is increased along with the resulting amount of damage.
- The car’s occupant protection devices, including the seatbelts and airbags, experience reduced effectiveness.
- Speed-related crashes have increasingly serious economic, physical, and psychological consequences.
Statistics show that drivers who drag race are often impaired by alcohol or other intoxicating substances. While driving under the influence is always dangerous, mixing this practice with the reckless characteristics of drag racing is a potentially deadly combination. Let’s consider the sobering statistics forwarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Almost a third of total U.S. traffic fatalities in 2015 were alcohol-related.
- Of the self-reported incidences of impaired driving that occur every year on U.S. roads, only about one percent resulted in arrests in 2015.
- In 2015, impaired drivers were involved in 16 percent of traffic fatalities involving children (aged 14 and younger).
Driving while impaired is always a terrible idea. Mixing impairment with the speed and recklessness of drag racing makes it an even more dangerous practice.
When you take young, impetuous drivers who tend to have poor driving records in the first place and add speed and alcohol into the equation, things get very dangerous very quickly. Drag racing, unfortunately, is not new to the streets of Philadelphia. If you’ve been injured by a drag racing driver, you need an accident attorney with experience in these kinds of cases to help protect your rights and guide you through the process of recovering for your claims.
If a Drag Racing Driver Has Left You Injured, Consult With an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an accident and suspect that one or more of the drivers involved may have been drag racing, the legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia can help. Our attorneys have over fifty years’ combined experience helping accident victims recover fair compensation and move forward in the recovery process. Our attorneys have the commitment, knowledge, and compassion to aggressively advocate for you and your rights. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.