What if Street Racing Led to a Crash and Caused My Injuries
Wisconsin, as a state, has among the highest number of illegal street racing incidents in the country. Street racing has been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic. In part, that was due fewer cars on the road. It may also be because there were a lot of young people who were bored and looking for something to do. However, illegal street races are still taking place, and too often the damages they cause are severe or fatal.
Below, PKSD discusses more about the dangers of street racing, including what you can do if you become injured by one of these drivers.
Our highly trained legal team has been helping victims injured by negligence for decades. We have recovered millions for our clients, and we are prepared to seek the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.
What is Considered Street Racing?
Street racing is a dangerous type of auto racing that typically occurs on a public road. Sometimes, only the involved drivers are present, especially if the race was a spontaneous idea. However, there are often at least a few spectators. The races usually happen on a street that has less traffic, such as a remote road in an industrial area.
Is it Legal to Street Race in Wisconsin?
There is no specific statute in Wisconsin that makes street racing illegal. However, street races are typically unsanctioned. Since the very nature of a race involves high speeds, as well as reckless driving behavior, street racing is not only dangerous, but also illegal.
There are various forms of street racing, including:
This type of street racing generally involves two cars. One is the lead car, and the other car follows. The idea is for the lead car to gain ground and pull away from the following driver. If the lead car driver is successful, he or she wins the race. However, there is no winner if the chase car stays with the lead car, preventing it from being able to break away. If that happens, the drivers change positions and race again. This type of racing can be extremely high-risk, especially when driving on winding roads or around mountain passes.
Drag racing involves shorter driving distances, as little as a quarter of a mile. Competing drivers have to be the first to cross a set finish line to win.
Sometimes drivers just race on a public road with no further goal than to outspeed the other driver. Regardless of what type of urban race Wisconsin drivers may engage in, it is dangerous to the drivers, as well as others sharing the road.
Why is Street Racing So Dangerous?
There are many reasons why unsanctioned urban street racing is extremely dangerous, including:
- Young or inexperienced drivers: Often the competitors involved in an urban street race are younger, less experienced drivers.
- Alcohol or drugs may be involved: Many drivers engaged in these races are also be impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the race.
- Reckless behavior: Whether the drivers are impaired by other substances or not, this type of activity increases adrenalin and increases the risk of more reckless behavior.
- High-speed driving: The faster a driver goes, the greater the risk he or she has of losing control of the vehicle. Speeding also makes it harder to stop if the driver encounters an unexpected hazard, such as an animal in the road or pedestrian crossing the street.
- Ignoring/violating traffic laws: Drivers may run a red light, ignore a stop sign or fail to acknowledge a designated crossing area.
- Rain or other inclement weather: Any type of bad weather can impact how a vehicle reacts. Rain, for instance can cause a vehicle to hydroplane, while hitting a patch of ice could cause a car to spin out and crash.
The very nature of urban street racing incites more aggressive behavior, increasing the likelihood of a collision, as well as road rage and other violent behaviors. Unfortunately, these incidents often injure, kill or maim innocent bystanders.
Recent Street Race Crashes in Wisconsin
Street racing is not just happening in other states. These real-life street racing crashes that happened in Wisconsin only emphasize the high-risk nature of these events.
August 2021 in Milwaukee
An August 2021 street racing crash claimed the lives of two individuals not involved in the race – a 21-year-old woman and 66-year-old man. Witnesses who saw the vehicles racing prior to the crash included an off-duty firefighter. He observed the two cars swerving and traveling through parking lanes, cutting off other motorists. He estimated the vehicles were travelling at speeds in excess of 80 mph. One of the drivers, a 26-year-old male, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision.
September 2021 in Madison
Two individuals riding an SUV were struck by a vehicle involved in a street race. They were more fortunate, as their injuries were not life-threatening. The driver who struck them was impaired by alcohol. He was arrested and charged with a DUI, 2nd degree endangering safety and multiple other charges.
November 2021 in Milwaukee
A collision caused by illegal street racing was caught on a traffic camera on East Oklahoma Avenue, a busy street in Milwaukee. This race involved two vehicles racing around a school bus. One of the drivers lost control and crashed into a parked car and nearby tree.
October 2022 in Milwaukee
Two drivers were involved in fatal car crash after what police say may have been a street racing incident. A 25-year-old passenger in one of the vehicles did not survive his injuries.
Chilling Street Racing Statistics Everyone Should Know About
Illegal street racing does not just put the drivers at risk. It creates unreasonably high risks for severe or fatal injuries of innocent bystanders. Knowing that these dangers exist makes the decision to engage in street racing extremely egregious behavior.
Studies identified these important statistics that may help you identify possible street racing activities and avoid them, including:
- Approximately two-thirds of individuals who die in street racing crashes are between 15 and 30 years of age.
- Half of all unsanctioned street racing incidents happen on public highways. The other half commonly occur on residential streets, in parking lots and on commercial roads.
- Drag racing cars have often been modified mechanically to make them faster. The increased speed capabilities makes these vehicles even more dangerous, especially if they end up hitting a person or another vehicle.
- Almost 70 percent of all street racing incidents happen at night
- Nearly all street racers are males and between the ages of 15 and 30 years old
Can You Protect Yourself From a Street Racer?
There are precautions that you can take which can reduce the risk of being involved in a crash with a street racer. For instance:
- Avoid driving in remote areas at night
- Remain focused and alert to your surroundings while behind the wheel
- Always take an extra second at a stop sign or after a traffic light turns green to check for drivers speeding through
- Do not get behind the wheel if you are overly tired, buzzed or ill
- Do not drive while distracted by anything – that text can wait until you get home
- If you see drivers speeding on a highway, find a safe place to pull over and call 9-1-1 – you could save someone’s life
- Properly maintain your vehicle, ensuring your lights, brakes and other vehicle parts are in good working condition
- Keep your vehicle windows clean, so you can easily see other drivers in the area
- Remember that street racers may be impaired and as such may not have their lights on
- Street racers tend to be more aggressive, so do not attempt to engage them
What if You Are Injured in a Crash With a Street Racer?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still get injured in a crash by a street racer. If this happens, try to focus on any details about the vehicles involved. You should immediately contact 9-1-1 and report the incident as a street racing crash.
If you can do so without putting yourself or others in danger, use your smartphone to capture video or pictures of the crash scene. Note if there are any witnesses or nearby traffic cameras that may have captured what happened.
Your priority, however, is getting immediate medical attention. A nearby emergency room is best for this as they have the equipment and staff on hand. Be sure to describe any symptoms you are having, however small. Once your injuries are stabilized, we strongly recommend seeking immediate help from an experienced Milwaukee auto accident attorney.
Victims injured in a street racing crash may be eligible to recover significant compensation for the damages they sustained, including:
- Ambulance transportation to the hospital
- Surgical intervention and hospital stays
- Diagnostic testing
- Other related medical costs
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication, such as for pain management
- Emotional trauma counseling
- Pain and suffering damages
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- And more
Could Drivers Involved in a Street Racing Crash Face Criminal Charges?
Drivers who engage in this reckless behavior could face a number of charges, including significant jail time. If a street racing crash leads to fatal injuries, at-fault drivers could also face numerous charges, including a second-degree homicide for reckless driving (Wisconsin does not have manslaughter charges), a Class D felony that is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, as well as $100,000 in fines. In more severe cases, at-fault parties could be charged with a Class B felony and face up to 60 years of jail time.
Injured in a Street Racing Crash? Call PKSD for Legal Help Today
At PKSD, we have been helping injured victims for decades. We have seen firsthand the devastation caused by negligent drivers, and we are dedicated to holding at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Not sure if you have a case? Our law firm offers a completely free case review to discuss your situation and answer your questions. There is no obligation to move forward, but if you do and we represent you, there are no upfront costs.
We only get paid if you do.
Call PKSD for legal help you can trust. 877-877-2228