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Epidemic of illegal street racing

Illegal street racing has become more frequent in Illinois and around the country. Fatalities and injuries from racing on highways and other public streets have risen in recent years. Being caught just watching an illegal street race can be considered aiding and abetting this dangerous activity. There are tracks dedicated to legal car racing. These are a much safer alternative to the dangers and stiff penalties for illegal racing.

National and state transportation agencies have gathered statistics on the number of fatal car accidents and injuries caused by illegal street racing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled information from police and found that 135 fatal crashes were caused by this activity. Between 1999 and 2002, the Florida Department of Highway and Safety for Motor Vehicles reported the number of subsequent car accidents rose from 28 to 48. Four fatalities and 115 injuries occurred during these years in Florida alone. San Diego is faced with an epidemic. Sixteen street racing deaths and 31 injuries occurred there in 2001. National statistics report that for every 1,000 people involved, 49 are injured.

Ordinances have now been put in place to discourage this dangerous activity. Street racers face quite a few serious penalties, although city and state ordinances vary. These penalties include a revoked driver's license and cancelled car insurance or steep rate increases. A conviction may carry a three-month jail sentence and fines up to $1,000. These penalties may also apply to spectators.

In the event of an injury or loss of a loved one due to a negligent driver, such as an illegal street racer, an experienced attorney may be able to help. An attorney could be able to aid in receiving damages, such as funeral or medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Source: National Hot Rod Association, "Race Smart," accessed on April 17, 2015

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