Anyone living in Bakersfield understands that the town has a problem with illegal street racing, and the problem has plagued the town for years. The California Highway Patrol and the Bakersfield Police Department are cracking down on street racing in the area.
Just a few weeks ago, the BPD arrested four people and issued 49 citations related to street racing during one operation. They also seized a firearm, a stolen vehicle, and impounded 20 vehicles during the street racing enforcement operation.
People Are Being Injured and Killed in Illegal Street Racing in Bakersfield
On February 25, 2021, a man was hit and killed in northeast Bakersfield. The pedestrian accident occurred at West Columbus Street and Chester Avenue around 8:28 p.m. According to a witness, the hit-and-run driver had been involved in illegal street racing just before he hit the pedestrian.
This accident is just one tragic example of the deaths and injuries that have occurred because of street racing. The problem of street racing in Bakersfield continues to grow, as do its dangers.
The Dangers of Street Racing
Some people are attracted to street racing. The Fast and The Furious movie series popularized the phenomenon. It is an adrenaline-filled adventure with fast, flashy cars speeding along city streets. That street racing is illegal seems to add to the appeal and excitement.
However, street racing is extremely dangerous for drivers, bystanders, and innocent victims.
Racing at high speeds through city streets is a recipe for disaster. Because the vehicles are traveling at such high speeds, drivers do not have sufficient reaction time or distance to avoid crashes with other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. When racing on narrow streets with few places to turn off, there may be no way to avoid a collision when traveling at such high rates of speed.
Another danger associated with street racing is impaired driving. Alcohol and drugs are commonly found among the crowds at illegal street races. Many of the drivers may be under the influence of alcohol during the race.
Drunk bystanders may increase the dangers of street racing. If they see vehicles careening out of control, their reaction times will be impaired.
Anger and Road Rage
Fights often break out at street races when drivers lose a race or accuse the other driver of trying to cause a crash. Anger and aggressiveness can cloud judgment. When you add a speeding car to the mix, you have a potentially deadly weapon that a driver can aim at anyone.
Ignoring All Traffic Lights and Traffic Signs
During a street race, drivers do not obey traffic laws. They do not stop at crosswalks or stop signs. They ignore traffic lights. Doing so increases the risk of a deadly car crash.
High rates of speed and skidding off the road can increase the chance of a rollover accident. The rollover accident can injure the occupants of the vehicle and bystanders who are struck by the vehicle.
Other Consequences of Street Racing
The potential for car accidents is not the only danger of street racing. Vandalism is another common problem with illegal street racing. Bystanders destroy nearby buildings and property.
The excess wear and tear on city streets can increase the risk of car crashes because of potholes. Street markings may also be worn off, causing other drivers to make driving errors that could cause crashes.
Depending on the location of the street races, people may avoid certain areas. That could result in a loss of revenue for local businesses.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured by a Street Racer?
Street racing is illegal and inherently dangerous. If you witness an illegal street race, report the race to a law enforcement official immediately. If you are injured because of street racing, call the police and wait for emergency assistance.
If there are eyewitnesses, ask for the names and telephone numbers. You may need them to testify if the police catch the at-fault driver. Also, suppose you file an uninsured driver claim against your insurance policy because the accident is treated as a hit-and-run. In that case, you need the witnesses to provide statements that you were not responsible for the cause of the accident.
Filing injury claims for street racing accidents can be complicated. Insurance companies may fight these claims to avoid paying high-dollar settlements. A car accident lawyer can help you sort out the issues and give you the best chance of recovering a fair settlement amount for your personal injury claim.