Millions watch the Fast and Furious movies, which follow the adventures of street racers who went from fugitives to good guys who help government agents take down super-criminals. The stories are told with fast cars and nerves of steel. It is the stuff of fiction, but it seemingly helped inspire a rise in the street racing subculture, which went into overdrive during the pandemic due to empty roads and shutdowns.
Unfortunately, the increasing numbers led to more injuries and deaths. For instance, last weekend in Downey, at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Paramount Boulevard, five were hospitalized early Saturday after a violent crash with earmarks of a street racing event. It involved two cars and a pick-up truck – preliminary reports indicate the two cars were likely racing. All three vehicles were heavily damaged, with one flipped upside-down.
It’s unclear what the pick-up’s role in the incident, but there is a steady stream of incidents across the country where racers, bystanders and innocent drivers are severely injured or killed — just a few weeks early, a 17-year-old San Bernardino boy died after losing control of his car near Mountain View Avenue and Redlands Boulevard. The Cooper Mini was in pieces after hitting a fire hydrant and power pole.
Just a few days before the crash in Downey, the Los Angeles City Council trying to do something about the street racing issue passed a motion to add potential deterrents such as speed bumps, rumble strips and raised center medians in areas commonly used for racing – often its long straight streets with easy access to highways used for escape.
Victims deserve justice
There are substantial penalties already in place for those caught racing or engaging in reckless driving. They may also face additional criminal charges, including murder. Nonetheless, it is also essential for victims and their families to take legal action against the racers and even the communities that allow street racing.