Need For Speed


Sandra Sadek, Staff Writer

The rush of driving cars past 100 miles per hour, the cheers of the spectators on the streets, and the amount of money bet; those are only a few of the factors that enhance the thrill that engulf teenagers during their street races.

On Jan.17, 2016, a group of reckless teenagers were found street racing less than a mile from Tompkins High School, down on Falcon Landing Boulevard and the nearby area. The usually peaceful street was casted with a veil of noise that disturbed every resident in the area in the late hours of the evening. Burned rubber from the car tires stained and damaged the nearby streets and incited a fear in the parents of students who attend the high school close by.

“I think people who practice this activity should not be that careless. People could get seriously injured and that is definitely not a choice I would make,” junior Amanda Christianson said.

The tradition of street racing began as early as the 1950s, when Hollywood portrayed the activity as harmless and designated it as the symbol of coolness for the teenage years. However, it is with the release of the hit blockbuster Fast and Furious that the activity rose tremendously in popularity.

Unfortunately, with the thrill of the game comes many dangers that one cannot overcome. While crashes are the most common outcome, many other risks run with the activity such as public disturbance and tear of public streets. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, motor vehicles accidents are the leading cause of death for 16 to 20 year olds.

Not only does street racing endanger the driver, but it can also affect the daily pedestrians and other common drivers. According to a 2001 research, factors relating to racing are the cause of 135 fatal crashes every year, injuring innocent civilians.

“I think street racing is unacceptable because it is super dangerous not just to the people who do it, but also for the others driving on the road. The street racing could cause devastating accidents and kill people,” junior Kyle Cunningham said.

Despite the rising popularity of the activity, police patrols are constantly on the lookout for those who dare to attempt to race in public streets, ready to give out fines and penalties. The most common punishment is revoking of the driver’s license. However, depending on the severity of the actions, the police may arrest the driver and impound his/her car. Imprisonment can also happen in some cases and may be followed by a fine of up to $1,000. Insurance can be cancelled or see its rates drastically increase.

“I believe Driving Schools should help assert the level of maturity of the driver before giving them their license,” freshman Amanda Page said.

Out of the group of teens drag racing on Falcon Landing, only two – just 16 years old – were arrested.

Today, specialized tracks have been built to allow young drivers to practice the activity out of danger’s way and in a legal way, and can easily be found around the nation. So next time friends attempt to drag race, remember the consequences and think twice before stepping on the gas pedal.