Hollywood has glamorized street racing, and the reality is that this dangerous and illegal pastime has become a risky hobby for some New Jersey drivers.
When you consider the typical ages and mindset of these drivers, it is easy to see that the adrenaline rush masks the very real dangers involved—not only to the drivers, but also to innocent bystanders.
What Is Street Racing?
Street racing is essentially an illegal wage-based race between modified passenger vehicles on public roads. Speeds can easily exceed 100 miles per hour.
New Jersey state law says that anyone who actually races his or her vehicle on a public highway is in violation of the law, and that those who encourage, assist, arrange, or manage such events are also in violation of the law (NJSA 39:5C-1).
Potential penalties include:
- Fines ranging from $25 and $100 for a first-time offender, with subsequent offenders paying between $100- $200.
- Imprisonment of up to 90 days for repeat offenders.
- Five points on a driver’s record, which can affect a driver’s ability to get insurance as well as jack up the cost of insurance. If a driver gets six or more points in a three-year period, there are additional costs. Twelve or more points results in an automatic suspension of a driver’s license.
- Suspension of a driver’s license at the discretion of the sitting judge.
What Makes Street Racing So Dangerous?
Simply put, the speeds at which the racers travel through public streets make the whole scenario unreasonably dangerous. At extreme speeds, a driver’s control is reduced and stopping times are impacted. If an obstacle is in their path, these drivers may plow through it and send shrapnel flying everywhere—but it’s much more likely they’ll just spin out of control, crash, and often start a vehicle fire.
There is a very serious risk that innocent bystanders, whether other drivers or pedestrians, will be hit or killed by these racing vehicles. This behavior cannot and should not be condoned.