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<font color='#000000'>Michael S. Thatcher                                                                                          
Mrs. Warren, Instructor
23 April 2002

The Deadly Game of Street Racing

Rodney Michael Espiritu was charged with both manslaughter and aggravated assault after a street-racing accident left two people dead and four injured. Espiritu, 23, was racing a black Nissan 240 SX on southbound Interstate 635 when his 1998 red Honda Civic hit a Suburban (Verdejo). Street racing is a dangerous and illegal game, but it is inevitable in the tuning scene. Street racing is fueled by the ambition of teenagers to prove that they are better than whomever they are racing. Street racing is all about status, however the ambition for status can prove deadly, especially with a lack of driving experience. Many street racers have the attitude that they are smarter than most normal drivers. Additionally, a lot of racers do not care about the risks of street racing as long as they get their race in.  The problem starts with a bunch of teenagers running around thinking they are in The Fast and the Furious. The question is how to get them off of the streets, away from city drivers and still have a way for them to vent this ambition. The best solutions would probably be to organize street legal functions on tracks and put stricter fines and penalties on persistent street racing offenders.


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The first solution to combat street racing would still provide an outlet for it. It would be to allow street legal races on tracks. In theory this would help keep kids off of the streets because they could do it more safely on a track. By keeping the racers off of the street it makes it safer for normal drivers to get around. In many cities where tracks have allowed street legal events, illegal street racing has gone down. Some law enforcement agencies have launched legalized racing programs, and many credit the reduction of illegal street racing in those cities to the street legal programs (Breznican). However, the problem with legal racetracks is that the insurance liabilities are so outrageous that it is too expensive to insure and run. Tracks where street racers have been welcomed, such as Terminal Island in Long Beach, California have been closed down for this reason (Chu). The insurance costs are passed down to the racers and they are charged a fee to race on the track. Many amateur racers spend so much money trying to beef up their cars and make them run faster that they cannot afford to pay those fees. In addition, the Sports Car Club of America, also known as the SCCA for short, has a set of regulations that track owners use as guidelines on races for insurance reasons. These regulations cost racers even more because they are forced to buy different types of safety equipment before they can even get

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on the track. A few of the Sports Car Club of America regulations include: installing roll cages and using other safety equipment beyond what is factory (i.e. helmets and harnesses), and it also requires all engine work to be checked  to insure that engines are in proper working order (Mouton). All of these excessive fees and regulations are too much for the average amateur racer who just came out to have fun with his or her friends and get in a few races. Races on tracks can run upwards of sixty some dollars per night.  Since there is no obvious way around these fees many racers back to the streets, where racing is supposedly free.
Next is the problem of what to do with the racers that return to the streets.  This illegal world of street racing spawned from the tuning of ordinary cars in order for teens to compete against each other for status, money, etc. When the track fees get out of hand many racers return to the streets to seek refuge from the expensive private tracks. In fact, many racers would probably still use the streets even if more tracks were readily available. A lot of racers who do race on the streets are just cruising around. It starts out as an innocent juvenile race from stoplight to stoplight, but it suddenly turns deadly when an unsuspecting mother of two pulls out of a gas station and collides with those innocent racers. The question is would this have happened if there were tracks available to race on for free. Probably yes, because many street racers do not realize that their races could cost lives, and lives are more
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important than the money that it costs to race on a track. Furthermore, for those racers who believe that they are smarter than normal drivers and continue to race on the street, put more police on patrol on the streets to stop them. Increase the fines on repeat offenders and if racers cannot take a hint, throw them in jail. The racers that drive around like normal can be hard to combat, but if stricter consequences were imposed on them it could make racers think twice about racing on crowded city streets. The carelessness of ambitious teens has no place on the street. Street racing is illegal and it needs to be taken off of the public streets because it is too dangerous for the other drivers on the road.
In closing, street racing is just a game, however it is a very dangerous game and it can be deadly. There many laws against street racing and there is much that can be done to help prevent it, however it cannot be stopped altogether. “You're not going to get drag racers to stop racing. If they don't have a chance to do it responsibly in a controlled atmosphere, they're going to do it on the highways and jeopardize other motorists" (Breznican). Many racers do not care what it costs until they crash their car, ruin their expensive engine and body modifications, and throw away all of the time and money they have spent on them. The dangers of street racing are the main reason why those who persist at it should be punished. Many people lose their lives

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to street racing everyday. Although racing in a controlled environment such as a racetrack can be dangerous, there are too many variables in street racing
for it to ever to be safe.  Despite the many differing views on street racing, the one thing that most people do agree on is that it can be very dangerous.


















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Works Cited
Breznican, Anthony. “Urban sprawl threatens Pomona Raceway and other drag racing venues”. The Detroit News. 30 July 2000.
Chu, Ricky. “Deadly Game”. Super Street Magazine. Issue 10 vol. 5. October 2001. p.178.
Mouton, Jerry. Solo II Car Classifications. http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/
Verdjero, Angel.   “Student Faces Charges”. The Shorthorn Online. 7 Feb 2002 :  
        <http://www.theshorthorn.com/archive/2002/spring/02-feb-07/n020702-02.html   ></font>
 

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<font color='#000080'>glad to know someone agrees with me.</font>
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<font color='#000000'>wait, wait i haven't agreed to anything  
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