Racing is fast growing in the world as an alternative form of sports. It is particularly popular among the youth as they use it to pass the time. The sport that started in the 1990s has continued to grow extensively, spreading in most areas of America. However, fanatics of the sport have to contend with lack of adequate facilities for their sporting. For instance, the teenagers often have to practice and race on public streets and highways as they cannot possibly afford to use a legal track. It is always a scary sport with one having to maneuver his or her way through several speeding cars. Nonetheless, teenagers are significantly involved into street racing by what they see in video games. In most instances, the video games portray men as young as they are meticulously making their way through several vehicles. It is a rare exhibition of a skill that any young man would love to master. The worst aspect of these games is the fact that they give an impression that the racers are invincible, rarely stopped by the police as though it were legal to race on public streets. In addition, they are deceived by the false impression that racers in video games hardly get accidents, rarely harm themselves and are rarely arrested by the police. In fact, most teenagers don’t ever think of street racing as such a serious issue that should not be contemplated by people, who have value for human life. It is basically a total risk with life and should be strictly avoided. Various attempts by different governmental agencies to root out this practice have not yielded significant fruits because the culprits are often teenagers, on whom the law is never strictly applied. They get arrested but the worst that happens thereafter is a stern warning to them to desist from the practice. In this manner, they hardly ever see the seriousness behind the government’s insistence that they stop street racing. In addition, the fact that racing teenagers are often quite fast makes them hard to stop by the police, unless they are made to fall. Thus, police let them free as they would not like to harm these young people as they try to enforce the law. In the end, the vice has been left to thrive in the society without any significant effort being made to end it (Sawyers & Scorsese, 2004).
According to statistics obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, street racing is the major cause of motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut. It is further made worse by the reality that 70% of these deaths involve young people between the age of 16 and 20. It basically stems from the fact that most racers are teenagers, who get indulged to the extent that they hardly take precaution regarding their personal safety. In case of an accident, they hardly escape unscathed because being outside the motor vehicle they are more prone to physical harm, even if the motor vehicle is not speeding. It is an unfortunate statistics that should worry any society, especially the fact that young people are the victims. The fatality of these accidents is made worse due to the finding that most teenage racers are substance abusers, thereby affecting their mental states. In addition, reckless driving by unsuspecting drivers has also been found to be a significant factor that causes these accidents. For example, an old man on the road, not suspecting that a racer would suddenly appear in front would likely hit the racer. In fact, one does not really have to be a reckless driver to get involved in such accidents due to the magnitude of risk involved. It simply takes a minute of memory lapse for a driver to cause a fatal accident involving a teenage street racer. It is the reason the government has embarked on a program to educate teenagers on the dangers of street racing, at least to reduce the frequency of the accidents. This follows a realization that plain ignorance is the cause of such accidents and that they can be prevented if caution was taken by drivers or the racers themselves. However, it remains to be seen how much success will result from this new initiative.
The problem that law enforcement agencies find in their pursuit is the divided opinion on whether street racing is good or bad. While motorists maintain that the sport should never be allowed on public streets, people, who love the sport, insist that racers will continue using public streets for as long as the government does not make legal tracks affordable for the youth. They imply that the game is so addictive that one would not avoid taking a lap across the streets once or twice a day. Thus, it remains incumbent upon the government to show leadership and find a lasting solution to the problems faced by teenage racers. According to the sportsmen, street racing is a safe game that should never be illegalized. They maintain that danger only comes when the law enforcement officers start going for them, causing them to rush to the extent that they lose control of their racing devices. According to them, the statistics that have been given in public domain is deceptive and only meant to scare away potential fanatics of the sports. Indeed, the strong believe that the government and the society has the power to make racing a safer game by ensuring that they take due caution whenever they get to the areas that racers often use for their sporting activities. It is a dilemma that the government has faced with a delicate balance, not trying to be too harsh on teenage sportsmen. In fact, the idea that most professional racers started off as street racers complicate matters for the government as they also pile up pressure on the government not to take stern action on the racers. In the end, the government remains with no alternative, but to tolerate the street racers even as they continue to cause accidents (Rinaldi, 2012).
Previous Crime Prevention Efforts
There are several steps that have been taken to curb illegal street racing in public streets or highways. However, it is public education that seems to be getting a lot of focus. For example, community organizations have come up with the common agenda of informing people about the potential danger that awaits street racers. Such an institution emphasize that everyone loves street racing, but hates the fact that it unnecessarily endangers everyone’s life. They are basically trying to appeal to the racers to more humane and care about other road users as well. Although immediate success has been slowly coming, the organization believes that when they eventually succeed, their success will stay forever unlike legal policies that depend on the commitment of the implementers. They are also aware that pushing for legislations of tough punitive measures will not significantly help the street racers because already there are adequate traffic laws. According to them, traffic laws would suffice to curb any forms of unsafe use of public roads if the public was adequately informed. However, motorists simply do not adhere to them because they do not find a reason to. Thus, the most effective way of dealing with traffic crimes of any nature is public education. In Connecticut, such groups emphasize that illegal street racing does not only endanger the lives of the racers, but also innocent travelers. One of the strategies that the group uses is to let them imagine being the innocent road user caught up in a grisly accident that leaves him or her paralyzed. Indeed, it looks painful, especially if such a situation could have been avoided by just being a bit mindful of others. In addition, the group also attempts to be realistic by discouraging other traffic offenses as well, so that street racers do not feel targeted. For example, the group also emphasizes on avoidance of drunken driving as a way of protecting lives and ensuring road safety. In doing this, it cautions drivers to avoid distractions or any forms of disturbance while on the roads, so that they don’t cause accident. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen how successful their efforts will turn out to be considering that most street racers are teenagers, who are never quick at taking instructions. In order to capitalize on their little gains, the group makes it look a noble thing to race on the legal tracks instead of public streets. The most prominent appeal has been the call on racers to race professionally in a manner that is acceptable to them and the society as well. They insist that racers should not enjoy racing on public streets, when the entire society is opposed to it. According to them, a game is as good as its public acceptance. In this regard, it compels the racers to first think of what the general public perception of their game is before taking part in it. There is no denying that the greatest challenge remains convincing the youth (Fischer et al., 2009).
Street racing has left quite a number of people more socially vulnerable and unable to find certain forms of employment. Well aware those street racers have a profession, in which they intend to work in future; the group explains in depth the risk that racers are putting their careers into. According to them, one would be involved in endless lawsuits if found culpable of causing a road accident. This would start with the police, who will bring charges related to irresponsible driving because street racing is not accepted on public roads. In addition, the second party in such an accident would always follow on up for compensation and medial support. This will imply that for the rest of one’s life, he or she will always be struggling to pay up bills accumulated by others in the hospitals. In essence, it will be quite impossible to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor because all the resources would be used elsewhere. Besides, such accidents would completely alter one’s relations with the family members. Instead of being a bread winner, one would become completely dependent on other members of the family because of reduced capability. If not through physical handicap, one would lose the ability to engage in rigorous daily activities looking for money. Indeed, it would be quite unfortunate for someone, who has spent a lifetime pursuing education that turns out to be unhelpful to them. The operations of such groups may not be as popular, but they certainly do what the society expects of community organizations. Particularly, in Connecticut, where 70% of racers are teenagers, such groups can reap significant success if they target young people before taking up street racing. This is because the game is so addictive that it always becomes hard for one to stop once they get into it.
Recently, focus of public has been in high schools and other institutions of higher learning. This stems from the belief that such a move would target a greater percentage of teenagers instead of targeting the general population and hoping that teenagers’ benefit. In this regard, the institution sends its representatives to schools, where they hold forums to discuss illegal street racing. In some instances, they just approach youth groups or sports clubs because most street racers also double up as members of such groups. According to them, they just intend to let everyone know what the dangers are even if they do not commit to change their ways. They believe that at one point, each of them will come to agree with them, when they witness a grisly accident caused by the racers. Indeed, there is quite some certainty that such a moment will come because roads in Connecticut have become prone to such scenes. There have even been proposals to fully integrate traffic rules into the school curriculum so that every student can get to learn about them. This will ensure that public education is not limited to people, who can be reached by the educators, but reaches every youth, who may think of participating in illegal street racing at some point (Senna, 1993).
The law makers have also resorted to formulating laws that will discourage people from participating in street racing. For example, the state of Connecticut already has a law that withdraws any compensation to street racers caught up in road accidents. This intends to discourage street racing considering that motor vehicle owners spend a lot of money to pay for insurance cover. This they do hoping that the insurance company would indemnify them in case of accidents. The manner, in which the law is designed, is perfectly meant to discourage racers from taking cover so that they suffer severe losses in case of an accident. Imagine having paid millions in premiums only to be told that the insurance company cannot compensate you when you needed that compensation most. Although it sounds inhumane, the government has taken this drastic measure to ensure that people comply with the directive that prohibits them from racing on public streets. In addition, the law proposes still punitive measures for drivers, as well as car owners, whom motor vehicles are caught up in road accidents. In the past, motor vehicle owners would not hesitate to take their cars for street racing as they knew that in case of wreckage, their insurance covers would come in handy to save them. At the moment, all that they needed to prove was that their cars was indeed involved in a road accident, no matter the nature or the cause of the accident. However, this new law has brought a new dimension regarding insurance companies and motor vehicle owners. While some racers would really not mind losing their cars in road carnage, the fact that they have also been denied compensation from their life insurance policies also complicates matters for them. Indeed, the law has been made tighter purposely to discourage people from racing on public streets or highways as it is unsafe. The only challenge, however, is the fact that racers do not own these cars as they are just teenagers.
Assessment of Results
Although it has not been passed into law, the state of Connecticut intends to deny convicts of illegal street racing any form of insurance cover relating to property. The idea here is to let them know that the society is as hostile to racing as it has the potential of causing them several lives. Indeed, it is the true picture although most people hardly express it as such considering that it involves teenagers. They perceive street racers as selfish people that only think of their game and not the bigger interest of the public. Thus, by denying them insurance cover altogether, the state intends to make it quite clear that people do not approve their games and they should consider desisting from the dangerous practice. According to literature, this could have quite a significant impact considering that most street racers are yet to obtain insurance cover. They are young people, who are just settling down in colleges or universities. Thus, when they finally think of taking insurance cover for their cars, they come to a shocking realization that the law renders them illegible. It is only then that they realize the gravity of the matter as they have to convince governmental agencies that they have indeed stopped street racing and that they will commit themselves public education with a view to discouraging the practice. Indeed, it remains to be seen if this will convince them to desist from street racing. While some people think that the government could be focusing too much on penalties, there is no doubt that only a combination of factors will help the society. In particular, the government cannot pretend that everything is alright, when hundreds of people lose their lives in accidents caused by racers every month. There is no doubt that the government needs this workforce in order to achieve its development goals. This is a better reason for the government to stand firm and stem out the vice. The options are few, it is either the government acts or people continue to die. That is why a lot of focus should be on the youth as they form the major percentage of street racers.
Future Policy Recommendations
The government should also engage in public education or at least support community organizations that have taken up this role. This is a good way of assuring the teenagers that no one is particularly against racing and that all that is being done is to protect the general public from preventable accidents. It will make use of situational crime prevention theory by making it less attractive to commit the crime. In addition, the government should encourage racers and, particularly, young people to use legal tracks as no one would dare follow them there. For example, the idea of introducing traffic education in school curriculum can only be achieved if the government supports it. This is because it is the government that designs and alters school’s curriculums in the United States. However, this should be followed by real effort towards reducing the cost of using legal tracks. The charges should take into consideration the fact that most racers are not in gainful employment and only school going kids. Thus, if the costs appear to be quite high, the racers would certainly be forced to look for alternative ways of quenching their thirst for racing. In some part of Connecticut, it is not just the cost, but also the availability as there are very few racing tracks available for racers. According to literature, it is the problem of shortage that forces some racers to resort to public streets as they have no option. However, it must be noted that the government has all the mechanisms to solve this problem as they are responsible for road constructions. The other problem that the government will have to deal with is the issue of parental guidance. It must be noted that parents have a significant role to play in as far as the teenagers are concerned. This stems from the fact that every teenager has a home and people he or she listens to. These very people should be given the responsibility to dissuade them from street racing. It would certainly have a greater impact because they also use their family cars for racing. However, this will still depend on their obedience to their parents and people around them.
In conclusion, racing is fast growing in the world as an alternative form of sports. It is particularly popular among the youth as they use it to pass the time. The sport that started in the 1990s and has continued to grow extensively, spreading in most areas of America. However, fanatics of the sport have to contend with lack of adequate facilities for their sporting. In order to stop it, community organizations have come up with the common agenda of informing people about the potential danger that awaits street racers. Such an institution emphasizes that everyone loves street racing, but hates the fact that it unnecessarily endangers everyone’s life. They are basically trying to appeal to the racers to more humane and care about other road users as well. Although immediate success has been slowly coming, the organization believes that when they eventually succeed, their success will stay forever unlike legal policies that depend on the commitment of the implementers. The law makers have also resorted to formulating laws that will discourage people from participating in street racing. For example, the state of Connecticut has already passed the law that withdraws any compensation to street racers caught up in road accidents. This intends to discourage street racing considering that motor vehicle owners spend a lot of money to pay for insurance cover. The government should also engage in public education or at least support community organizations that have taken up this role. This is a good way of assuring the teenagers that no one is particularly against racing and that all that is being done is to protect the general public from preventable accidents.