Street racing

In the article written by Armstrong and Steinhardt (2005), street racing, a form of unsanctioned and illegal automobile racing on public roads, can either take the form of spontaneous one-to-one racing or highly organized events.  A related activity to street racing is known as “hooning”, which generally refers to activities such as burnouts or excessive acceleration.  Spontaneous races usually occur at intersections where two cars stop at a red light before they begin racing.  Well-coordinated races on the other hand, are chosen before the race night and often have people communicating via two-way radio and using police scanners and GPS units to mark locations of local police hot spots.  While a part of the younger generation enjoys these activities, several problems are associated with them which led authorities to work out several regulations to prevent if not totally eradicate them.

American street-racing tradition dates back to the 1950s, and has long been a staple of Hollywood movies, including films such as “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), “American Graffiti” (1973), and “Grease” (1978). But the movie which greatly boosted the popularity of street racing was the 2001 surprise hit, “The Fast and the Furious,” which grossed nearly $80 million in its first 10 days in theaters and includes spectacular racing scenes and daring stunts.  Although the movie studio issued public service announcements that encouraged safe and legal driving, the film likely provided fresh inspiration to street racers (Peak and Glensor 2004).

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The main concern with street racing is that it presents a potential for fatalities or injuries, both for the racers and uninvolved citizens.  Based on the Problem-Specific Guides Series (2004) developed by the U.S. Department of Justice, other problems related to street racing must also be addressed.  Other related problems they reported are auto theft, assaults in retaliation for failure to pay racing bets, curfew violations, drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs,  gang-related activity,  insurance fraud relating to racers betting on outcomes, illegal vehicle modification, illicit gambling, noise complaints, public intoxication, theft and fencing of auto parts, thefts from autos, trespassing, vandalism and littering.

From the above consequences of street racing, it could be surmised how dangerous street racing and its related activities are.  Individuals continue to engage in them unless they encounter accidents along the way or experience traumatic events during the course of the activity.  What is left to do now is to create laws that could be feasibly implemented to address the moral implications of the said activities.  Not only that these activities destroy properties, but they also destroy the lives of both involved and innocent individuals in the event of unforeseen mishaps.