A deadly trend is taking over the streets of Miami-Dade. While street racing is nothing new, the popularity and frequency of accidents seem to be picking up speed. Drivers are shutting down intersections and drag racing on busy roadways and otherwise quiet neighborhoods. The result: an increasing number of dangerous accidents in which drivers and bystanders are often severely injured or fatally wounded. Street racing incidents have been reported in South Beach, on I-95, and the Palmetto Expressway. Authorities in several areas have set up task forces in hopes of putting an end to this dangerous trend.
Street racing, which dates back to the 1950s, is an illegal and unsanctioned form of car racing on public roads. By its very nature, this deadly hobby causes traffic delays, destruction of property, and endangers lives. It is especially precarious to motorists who are trying to commute at the time a spontaneous street race initiates.
What Are The Penalties For Street Racing In Florida?
In Florida, street racing is classified as a first-degree criminal misdemeanor offense. If an individual is tried and convicted of this crime, they may face the following penalties:
- Driver’s license suspension for one year
- Vehicle impounded for 30 days
- A fine between $500-$5000, depending on the number of offenses
- A mandatory three-year license suspension following a third offense
- Required completion of a Florida Basic Driver Improvement Course and/or a Florida Advanced Driver Improvement Course.
A street racing conviction may result in a felony if a crash results in the death of another individual. For example, a 21-year-old man received a 24-year prison sentence when he was found guilty of street racing against another driver in Tampa, which resulted in the death of a young woman and her one-year-old daughter.
What Should an Individual Do If They Witness Street Racing?
Whether in a vehicle, on the street, or in a building, a witness to street racing should immediately get themselves out of harm’s way and call the police. If possible, a person should take a video of the incident from a safe location. As of July 1st, 2019, officers no longer have to witness reckless driving first-hand to arrest an individual for street racing. Bystander testimony and video can provide law enforcement with probable cause, which is all they need to make an arrest.
Street Racing Personal Injury Claims
In addition to criminal charges, drivers at fault in accidents resulting from street racing may also be held responsible in civil court for the injuries caused by the incident. Pedestrians or drivers injured by an aggressive motorist may seek compensation to cover medical bills, damage to property or vehicle, and lost wages. As with any other vehicular accident in Florida, there is a statute of limitations of four years. In other words, a victim has four years from the time of the collision to file for damages in a civil court.
Call Panter, Panter, and Sampedro
Even with harsh penalties, street racing continues to be a problem for our communities. If you or a loved one is the victim in this type of collision, time is of the essence. Our car accident attorneys have over thirty years of experience helping Florida’s families, obtaining verdicts and settlements in excess of $100 million. Give us a call to schedule a free case review at (305) 662-6178.