Houston – Police across the country are looking for ways to crack down on illegal drag racing.
Street races usually happen randomly between drivers on streets or interstates, but police say they can also result from other people joining and blocking intersections while racing, drifting and doing donuts or other stunts. They can also hold up traffic for hours, and approaching drivers can be dangerous.
Lily Trujillo is one of the thousands who have suffered from the damage caused by illegal street racing and takeovers.
Trujillo said, “In December 2017, my daughter Valentina was killed because a young man who was driving her home suddenly ran across the street.”
Wyatt Martin is the assistant chief of the Houston Police Department. He says that these illegal road races are becoming common.
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Martin said, “Not a day goes by when it seems like you don’t hear of a young person being seriously injured or even killed in one of these incidents.”
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Just two weeks ago, a street race in Austin, Texas included fireworks aimed at police.
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The Harris Country District Attorney says that has changed.
“This attracted the attention of MPs, who most recently voted to upgrade race racing to a criminal offense in previous seasons,” said Kim Ogg.
Now, some states say they are cracking down on it. Texas and California have formed Street Racing and Takeover Task Forces that focus on impounding these vehicles. Florida now allows law enforcement to arrest and prosecute street racers for related videos posted online. New York and Washington have also announced plans for noise detection cameras and tougher punishments for street racers.
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“Everybody’s doing something about it. And, I believe everybody’s going to start duplicating everybody’s bills to save lives,” Trujillo said.
For now, police are offering suggestions on what to do if you get caught street racing or in the back of an acquisition.
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“Participants will violently confront other drivers who they perceive are trying to disrupt their movements. Stay in your car, lock the windows and door, call 9-1-1 and tell us That’s what’s happening,” Martin said.
Police say they want to encourage racers to have fun legally. And let’s hope that the actions of illegal racers don’t spoil activities for members of legal car clubs.