Is Illegal Street Racing a Problem in Oregon?
Automobiles have improved the lives of Americans as much as almost any other invention. Getting to emergency medical care, food and other necessities, school, work, and more is easier, and auto transportation allows us to move products across vast distances.
The ability to drive also provides the average person with tremendous freedom and independence. In fact, for most, learning to drive a car is a true rite of passage. But cars are sometimes valued for more than their normal functionality.
There have always been those who seek to explore the mechanical limits of their cars, which includes driving as fast as possible. Some go further, making modifications to their cars to increase top-end speed. Finally, there are those who seek a competitive outlet to test their cars against others.
Racing can be an exciting competitive sport when accomplished through appropriately sanctioned racing events. But what about illegal racing on our public streets?
In this article, we’ll discuss illegal street racing and whether Oregonians have reason to worry.
How New is Street Racing?
Hardly. People have been racing their cars almost as long as cars have existed. In fact, some legal racing (i.e., NASCAR) resulted from illegal activities, such as running moonshine during Prohibition. What originated as bootleggers modifying their vehicles to better evade police ultimately resulted in stock car racing. Perhaps that explains why six southern states rank in the top 10 states for receiving street racing citations.
Moreover, with racing video games and The Fast and the Furious franchise of movies, street racing seems to have been romanticized for some. That said, illegal street racing can be a serious problem for public safety.
Oregon Street Racing: Does Oregon Have a Problem?
Street racing is not just a southern problem. In fact, Arizona ranks second and California ranks third for states in which drivers receive the most street racing citations. Nationally, out of every 100,000 drivers, nine have received a street racing citation.
And while Oregon does not rank in the top 10, there are still reasons to be concerned about Oregon street racing. Below are just a few street racing incidents from the last few years in the state:
- In December 2015, a 65-year-old woman was killed when two motorcycles involved in a street race struck her car.
- In January 2016, a 20-year-old motorcycle driver died when he crashed into another motorcycle he was racing.
- In March 2016, a 26-year-old passenger in a street race died in a crash.
- In April 2017, a motorcycle racer crashed and died.
- In May 2019, three men were arrested after engaging in street racing on I-84. Officers said they were doing donuts on the interstate.
- In July 2019, cars were racing in Washington County when they crashed and killed a passenger in one of the cars.
- On July 16, 2019, two men were arrested and 22 more received citations for street racing violations. When officers came to the scene, street racers fled.
- On July 30, 2019, law enforcement authorities arrested 6 people as part of a patrol to enforce street racing prohibitions.
Though many of these races are organized events, they are not legal and almost always result in arrests and citations, if not serious injury or death.
The Dangers of Street Racing
First, street racers endanger themselves. Not only do they risk personal injury, but they also risk criminal prosecution.
Perhaps more sadly, they endanger those around them. That includes not only those riding with them, but innocent drivers and bystanders who happen to be nearby. Oregon police departments report that, in some instances, hundreds or even thousands of spectators appear for illegal street racing events and demonstrations.
If You Have Been Injured, Call a Lawyer
Unfortunately, Oregon street racing is enough of a problem for drivers to be concerned. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of another, you have important legal rights, including the right to recover damages for your personal injuries.
We know the law can be confusing, and personal injury victims often have questions. Please call us and one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield will be happy to answer them. We believe that holding wrongful actors accountable for their bad behavior is essential to ensuring that society is safer for everyone.