Street Racing and its recent popularity


Two racers beginning a street race during the pandemic.

By Joshua Funes, Editor

Out in the streets and highways, millions of drivers around the country have begun participating in what is known as “street racing.” From high-speed drag racing on highways to driving dangerously around traffic, street racing has become a popular social event, bringing adrenaline and risks to drivers and spectators alike.

What is Street Racing?

According to an article titled, “Street Racing Charges” by Legal Match, street racing is a form of racing where two or more drivers participate in a race on public roads, which is illegal in the United States. There are many forms of street racing, takeovers and roll racing being the most popular forms. Most street races take place late at night, where traffic is usually at its lightest, giving racers the opportunity to drive as fast as possible, whether they’re driving a simple sports car or a heavily modified race car.


The current state of Street Racing

    While street racing has become quite popular, it has its own risks and dangers as well. Crashes and spectator and driver injuries have always been one of the risks involving street racing, which is why street racing has been illegal since its inception. I interviewed a teacher and a group of students from the automotive class to see what their thoughts on street racing was.


Automotive teacher Mr. Aguiar said that street racing is something you shouldn’t participate in, due to the risk that you could get hurt or damage your vehicle. While he and most automotive students hadn’t seen a street race before, one student did. He was a passenger in a street race. However, he understood the risks involved, and described how dangerous street racing can be if the driver does not take the proper safety measures. One thing both the students and teacher agreed on is that street racing has become a serious problem, and that something should be done to control it.


The origins and rise of Street Racing

According to an article by Boston University titled, “The History and Consequences of Street Racing”, street racing can trace its origins all the way back to the 1930’s, where smugglers would modify their cars to outrun the police, due to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. After the prohibition law was lifted in 1933, people began to put those modified cars to use, by racing out in the streets with them. Over time, street racing would steadily grow in popularity until the early 2000’s, where the release of Fast and Furious, along with other movies, would skyrocket the popularity of street racing, leading to the current day, where street racing remains a popular event in car culture.


The recent response from police departments

While street racing has become a popular event, police departments have begun to combat street racing in many forms. All across the country, departments have been cracking down on street racing, with tickets, jail time, and fines towards anyone who is involved in a street race. Not only that, but police departments have also begun to upgrade their equipment to keep up with street racers. One notable example happened in October 2022, where the Texas Highway Patrol would reveal a new police cruiser, which was seized from a street racer and put to good use. The car was revealed to have more than 1,000 HP, more than enough to keep up with the fastest racers.


Why street racing has become dangerous

Street racing has brought an unprecedented number of risks and danger to both spectators and drivers. Not only are people getting hurt, but deaths are becoming more frequent. According to an article titled, ”The Problem of Street Racing”, posted on the website for Arizona State University, around 50 people die to street racing each year. Not only that, but crashes from street racing have also become more commonplace. Even bystanders have become victims of the dangers of street racing, showing the extent of the danger street racing has brought.


Conclusion on Street Racing

While street racing can seem fun for most people, its dangers far outweigh the benefits of street racing. With crashes, injuries, and legal trouble all being the risks that come with street racing, it makes sense as to why police have taken such serious intrest in this dangerous event.

Texas Highway Patrol’s special police cruiser from October 2022