Dangers of Street Racing

Staying Safe in Kansas City: Addressing the Dangers of Street Racing and Unlawful Vehicle Use

Last weekend marked the initiation of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s (KCPD) “Entertainment District Plan”. This proactive safety measure deploys over a dozen officers and specialized units on Friday and Saturday nights. Their mission is to bolster safety and tackle pressing traffic issues such as street racing, slideshows, and the illegal operation of off-road vehicles and ATVs on Kansas City streets.

The KCPD has noticed a significant uptick in these activities since the pandemic began. As dedicated Kansas City auto accident and personal injury attorneys, we aim to highlight this concerning trend, illustrate the potential repercussions, and offer essential safety advice for those visiting the Entertainment District.

Understanding Street Racing and Its Dangers

Street racing incidents in the United States result in a significant number of deaths each year. One study using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that, over four years, there were 399 fatalities associated with 315 fatal crashes involving street racing. This represents a relatively small percentage of total traffic fatalities but highlights the dangerous nature of street racing, which often involves high speeds on urban roads and is more likely to involve young male drivers with a history of traffic violations.

At the end of 2023, two people were killed and a bus stop was destroyed after a late-night street car crash at the intersection of 55th Street and Prospect Avenue. A BMW which was not involved in the race was struck by a Lincoln MKX as it raced by, ejecting the innocent driver who tragically died at the scene. The Lincoln driver later passed away at a local hospital and the other involved vehicle fled the scene. Interestingly, in this case, the driver of the Lincoln was female.

Street racing, an unauthorized and illegal high-speed contest on public roads, often involves multiple cars. These races, typically arranged via social media or word-of-mouth, lack the safety protocols of official racing events. The dangers are considerable:

  • High-Speed Risks: Streets aren’t built for racing. Unpredictable elements like varying road surfaces, pedestrians, and regular traffic can lead to dangerous loss of control.
  • Absence of Safety Precautions: There are no professional barriers, emergency services, or safety checks on vehicles, increasing the risk of severe accidents.
  • Legal Ramifications: Participants face fines, vehicle impoundment, arrest, or imprisonment.
  • Bystander Danger: The high speeds and risky maneuvers endanger nearby non-participants and can cause extensive property damage.
  • Vehicle Wear and Tear: Racing stresses vehicles beyond normal limits, leading to potential mechanical failures.

The Perils of Slideshows

Slideshows involve drivers intentionally losing traction, causing their vehicles to slide or drift across public roads. This activity poses risks due to its uncontrolled environment and the potential harm to bystanders, property, and the vehicles themselves. Legal consequences mirror those of street racing, compounding the risks for participants.

Slideshows are becoming increasingly popular in Kansas City, with each show growing in size and becoming more dangerous. The police have reported incidents of up to 90 vehicles blocking the roadway, creating hazardous situations for spectators and other motorists. KCPD impounds the vehicles of drivers who attend these events.

In the fall of 2022, a pedestrian, who was believed to be a spectator was killed in an overnight slideshow on Front Street in Kansas City. According to reports, just after midnight, an orange Dodge Charger was doing donuts when he hit the pedestrian The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital where he later died. The driver of the Dodge fled the scene, but later returned and was arrested.

Why ATVs Should Stay Off City Streets

ATVs are not designed for paved roads and pose significant safety risks when used in urban settings. Factors driving this misuse include thrill-seeking, a lack of legal riding areas, and the desire for social recognition. The consequences of riding ATVs on city streets include:

  • Increased Accident Risk: Their design makes ATVs prone to rollovers and other accidents on pavement.
  • Legal Issues: Riding ATVs on streets can lead to fines, arrests, and vehicle impoundment.
  • Hazard to Other Road Users: ATVs can be unpredictable to other drivers and lead to collisions.
  • Noise and Disturbance: The loud noise from ATVs contributes to urban noise pollution.
  • Infrastructure Damage: These vehicles can damage roads and city infrastructure.

The Consequences of Street Racing in Missouri

Street racing poses significant safety risks and, as a result, carries substantial legal consequences in Missouri. Here are the key legal penalties and consequences associated with street racing in the state:

  • Criminal Charges: Street racing can be charged as a criminal offense. Participants may face charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the circumstances of the race, such as any resulting accidents, injuries, or deaths.
  • Fines and Penalties: Individuals caught in street racing can be subjected to hefty fines. These fines can escalate if property damage, injuries, or repeat offenses are involved.
  • Vehicle Impoundment: Authorities have the power to impound vehicles involved in street racing. This not only serves as a penalty but also as a deterrent against future participation in such illegal activities.
  • License Suspension or Revocation: The state can suspend or revoke the driver’s license of individuals involved in street racing. This aims to prevent repeat offenses and maintain public safety on the roads.
  • Increased Insurance Rates: Those convicted of street racing may face significantly higher car insurance premiums. Insurance companies view such drivers as high-risk, which can lead to increased costs for years.
  • Jail Time: Depending on the severity of the incident and whether it includes aggravating factors like causing bodily injury or death, participants in street racing might face jail time.
  • Civil Liability: In addition to criminal penalties, street racers can also be held civilly liable for any damages or injuries caused during an illegal race. Victims may sue for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

These consequences reflect the serious view Missouri takes regarding street racing, emphasizing both punishment and prevention to enhance road safety. If you’re involved in or witness a street racing incident, it’s advisable to contact local authorities and consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to understand the full scope of legal options and protections.

How to Stay Safe

To mitigate risks associated with illegal street activities:

  • Be Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings, particularly in areas known for illicit racing.
  • Avoid Hotspots: Steer clear of areas known for street racing, especially at night.
  • Report Activities: If you observe dangerous driving, maintain a safe distance and contact authorities.
  • Defensive Driving: Assume that others may not see you or follow traffic rules. Maintain a safe distance and stay vigilant.
  • Safe Routes: Choose well-lit, busy roads and avoid shortcuts through less-traveled areas.
  • Educate Drivers: Inform young or new drivers about these dangers and encourage responsible behavior.

What to Do After an Accident Involving Street Racing

If you find yourself in an accident caused by street racing or similar activities, prioritize your safety first, then:

  • Call for Help: Immediately contact the police and, if necessary, medical services.
  • Document the Incident: Capture photos or videos of the scene, the damage, and any relevant details.
  • Collect Information: Gather details from witnesses and other drivers involved.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Get checked by a medical professional, even if no injuries are apparent.
  • Legal Consultation: Speak with a skilled street racing injury attorney to understand your rights and discuss your legal options.

Navigating Complex Personal Injury Claims

The ramifications of street racing can complicate personal injury claims. Issues like chronic pain, mobility challenges, traumatic brain injuries, psychological trauma, and financial burdens require thorough documentation and expert legal handling to ensure rightful compensation.

At Kendall Law Group, we specialize in managing the complexities of such cases, ensuring that your legal strategy addresses all physical, emotional, and financial impacts. If you or a loved one is grappling with the consequences of a reckless driving incident, reach out to us for a comprehensive case evaluation.

Your safety and well-being are our priorities. By understanding the risks and knowing what steps to take in the aftermath of an accident, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones from the hazards of illegal street activities. Remember, your actions can help maintain the safety of your community and lead to a safer environment for everyone. Contact Kendall Law Group today at (816) 531-3100 for compassionate guidance and skilled advocacy.

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