By all accounts it was a typical balmy evening. But for five victims of a multi-car crash, one night in late October 2016 was a nightmare. A Snapchat video posted minutes before the collision showed the speed at which one vehicle was careening down Coconut Palm Drive: 115.6 miles per hour. Although troopers report that there is no evidence of street racing this particular night, neighbors say racing is not uncommon. Whether or not this incident involved a race, the high speeds of at least one vehicle resulted in five fatalities.
If you or a loved one experience serious injury or death due to high-speed recklessness on the road, a personal injury attorney can help you in your quest for justice.
Street Racing Dangers
The statistics around street racing are not pleasant. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports thousands of citations, with well over 7,000 in Florida alone. Racing is blamed for hundreds of deaths nationwide, not to mention a plethora of injuries. In fact, for every 1,000 participants in street racing, 49 are injured.
Florida law defines racing on the highway as competitive driving in a contest of speed or acceleration, or drag racing. It can involve any automobiles, trucks, or motorcycles, and may be a competition of physical endurance or skill behind the wheel at high speeds. In some instances, individuals attempt to break speed records in exhibitions. Whether this occurs on a highway, small roadway or parking lot, it is illegal in the state of Florida.
Beyond being involved in the actual driving of a vehicle in such a race, coordinating the event, collecting bets, or otherwise facilitating it is also unlawful. Even helping to create a “safe” race by blocking traffic is against the law, as is riding in a racing vehicle as a passenger.
The legal definition of a race is very specific. It involves any attempt to compete to either:
- Outdistance another vehicle;
- Prevent another vehicle from passing;
- Arrive at a particular destination before another vehicle;
- Test driver stamina over a given distance on a given route.
The penalty for racing without incident is a year in jail and revocation of the driver’s license. The vehicle involved in racing may also be impounded. Additional violations within five years of the first incident may include additional fines and longer driver’s license revocation. Naturally, those involved in street racing find it difficult, or very expensive, to acquire automobile insurance. And these are the consequences for racing that does not result in an accident.
If an accident does occur, and they are quite frequent, the legal liabilities can be astronomical. Racers may be held liable for property damage, medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Beyond the monetary damages, racers will always bear the weight of the horror they may have caused in the lives of others.
Justice for Victims
Street racing is reckless, dangerous, and often results in horrific burdens to innocent bystanders. If you are suffering the aftermath of another person’s irresponsible driving decisions, our experienced personal injury legal team can help. Contact us at The Law Offices of Robert W, Elton in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a free, personalized consultation today.