In case you haven’t gotten the memo, street racing is dangerous and illegal. Los Angeles has definitely gotten the memo and are making a push to get racers off the street. Recent high-profile incidents like this tragic accident and this accident last month in Commerce have brought even more attention to illegal street racing in southern California lately.
Shows like Street Outlaws have brought out more street racers and more likelihood of tragic incidents. These shows are filmed in a controlled environment with legally closed roads, permits and on-site emergency response teams. It’s not the fault of these television shows, but just as Sons of Anarchy brought out more new and enthusiastic bikers, Street Outlaws is going to bring out more racers.
Wednesday night, 44 people were arrested and hundreds more were given citations at an illegal street race in Los Angeles. The arrests ranged from drug-related offenses to those wanted on arrest warrants, a Sheriff’s Department’s news release stated. The citations included unlicensed drivers and those driving on a suspended license. Authorities surrounded the illegal race site and boxed the participants and spectators in. In total, 54 vehicles were towed and impounded and undoubtedly some of those will never be returned to their owners, depending on the level of modification.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from several different agencies including Hawthorne Police, Inglewood Police, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and California Highway Patrol took part in a task force operation that had been planned for a week. The operation took place at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Broadway in south Los Angeles. Spectators were given citations because of laws against spectating during street races.
Lt. Jodi Hutak, spokesperson for the L.A. Sheriff’s Dept said “We have problems with these racers coming out, they have high-end cars with modifications, they drive fast, often they’re under the influence of alcohol, and the increase in fatalities and traffic collisions is on the increase.”
Authorities added that they would continue to monitor the race site for further activity “From here on out, every single day.” Look for more crackdowns like this to happen throughout southern California wherever illegal street racing is occurring.
Nobody wants to get a citation, spend the night or a few days in jail or have their car impounded. Worse yet, nobody wants to see a racer or a spectator get seriously injured or killed. There are plenty of locations where racing of street cars is conducted in a safe, controlled environment. San Diego has it’s RaceLegal program and there are others like it.
Our hobby doesn’t need the bad press or any more reasons for law enforcement and lawmakers to make life more difficult on the car enthusiast community. There’s no reason to try to recreate Fast & Furious or Street Outlaws on our local streets – we don’t need the negative attention or the stigma. Have fun with your cars, show them off, but be smart about it. Nobody wants another tragedy to occur.