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With Automobile Accidents on the Rise do We Live in a Reality of a ‘Fast & Furious’ World?

As soon as “The Fast and the Furious” arrived on the silver screen in 2001, car enthusiasts (young and old), speed fanatics, and thrill seekers flocked to the theater to vicariously experience the adrenaline rush of illegal street racing.

Seven films later and the illegal street racing story-line still draw a loyal crowd to theaters.

Enter the age old debate of “life imitating art”, residents in Oklahoma are aware of the increased interest in racing on city streets. As a result, car accidents in Oklahoma continue to occur for reckless and preventable reasons. According to the Census Bureau, the incidents of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the state continue to rise.

What is going on in Oklahoma?

States with the highest number of uninsured drivers. Oklahoma is first.

Note: The illustration above shows the amount of insured drivers by state. Oklahoma has the lowest number of insured drivers at 74.1%. Or technically the highest number of uninsured drivers at 25.9%, i.e. 100 – 74.1 = 25.9%

Reckless Driving is Rampant as Drivers get Hostile

According to Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, reckless driving can be generally defined as driving a motor vehicle at a speed greater than or in a manner other that what is reasonable, especially given the conditions of traffic, weather, and road surface.

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving includes speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, driving aggressively, having too many passengers, driving after drinking (but not intoxicated), making poor navigational choices, taking any driving action that will ultimately put anyone’s life at risk.

By definition, street racing falls under the category of reckless driving. Even with experienced drivers, skilled in driving at top speeds, street racing is far more dangerous than racing at a closed track.

Reckless Driving Laws & Limits by State

Below is a table list of each state’s reckless driving limit, if there is one, plus mandatory and maximum penalty. Included is each state’s maximum speed limit.

StateSpeed Limit (mph)Reckless Driving (mph)*Mandatory PenaltyMaximum Penalty
Alabama70
none; misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 6-month license suspension
Alaska 65
30-day license suspension; misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $1000 fine, 30-day-plus license suspension
Arizona75 85 / +20
none; class 3 misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $500 fine
Arkansas
75 +15
none; class B misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license suspension
California
70 (Trucks 55)100none; misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, 30-day license suspension
Colorado
75+25

none; class 2 misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $300 fine, 1-year license suspension
Connecticut658530-day license suspension30 days imprisonment, $300 fine, 90-day license suspension
Delaware65
$100 fine; misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $300 fine, 1-year license suspension
District of Columbia
50306-month license revocation3 months imprisonment, $250 fine, 6-month license revocation
Florida70
none; misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license suspension
Georgia
70
none1 year imprisonment, $1000 fine, 5-year license suspension
Hawaii 6080 / +30
petty misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, license revocation
Idaho 80 (Trucks 70)
misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $300 fine, 30-day license suspension
Illinois 70+30
class A misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $2500 fine, 1-year license revocation
Indiana70
class B misdemeanor180 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, 1-year license suspension
Iowa 70 +25
simple misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license suspension
Kansas 75 misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license revocation
Kentucky70 +26
none$100 fine, 2-year license revocation
Louisiana70
misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $200 fine, 1-year license revocation
Maine 7530class E crime6 months imprisonment, $1000 fine, 30-day license suspension
Maryland70
misdemeanor$1000 fine, 2-year license revocation
Massachusetts 65 60-day license revocation; misdemeanor2 years imprisonment, $200 fine, 60-day-plus license revocation
Michigan
70 90 days imprisonment, $100 fine, 90-day license suspension2 years imprisonment, $2000 fine, 1-year license suspension
Minnesota70100$300 fine; misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, 1-year license suspension
Mississippi70 misdemeanor$100 fine, license suspension
Missouri70 +20
class B misdemeanor6 months imprisonment, $500 fine, 30-day license suspension
Montana75 misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $300 fine, 1-year license suspension
Nebraska
75 class III misdemeanor3 months imprisonment, $500 fine, 6-month license revocation
Nevada75 misdemeanor6 months imprisonment, $1000 fine, 1-year license suspension
New Hampshire65 $250 fine, 60-day license revocation$500 fine, 60-day license revocation
New Jersey65 quasi-criminal/petty offense60 days imprisonment, $200 fine, 180-day license suspension
New Mexico75 +26misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $100 fine, 90-day license suspension
New York65 +30
$100 fine30 days imprisonment, $300 fine, license suspension
North Carolina70 80 / +15
30 days imprisonment, $300 fine, license suspension60 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, 1-year license suspension
North Dakota75 +36
class B misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $1000 fine, 7-day-plus license suspension
Ohio 70
minor misdemeanor$100 fine, 6-month license suspension
Oklahoma
75
$100 fine; misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license suspension
Oregon65 85 /+30
90-day license suspension; misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $5000 fine, 90-day license suspension
Pennsylvania70+30
6-month license suspension$200 fine, 6-month license suspension
Rhode Island65
misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $500 fine, 30-day license suspension
South Carolina70 +25
misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $200 fine, 6-month license suspension
South Dakota80
class 1 misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $1000 fine, license suspension
Tennessee70 class B misdemeanor6 months imprisonment, $500 fine, license suspension
Texas 75 misdemeanor30 days imprisonment, $200 fine, 1-year license suspension or indefinite revocation
Utah
80 class B misdemeanor6 months imprisonment, $1000 fine, 1-year license suspension
Vermont
65+30
misdemeanor3 months imprisonment, $300 fine, 30-day-plus license suspension
Virginia 7080 / +20
class 1 misdemeanor12 months imprisonment, $2500 fine, 6-month license suspension
Washington
70 gross misdemeanor1 year imprisonment, $5000 fine, 1-year license suspension
West Virginia70
misdemeanor90 days imprisonment, $500 fine, 1-year license suspension
Wisconsin
65 +25
civil forfeiture$200 fine, 1-year license suspension
Wyoming80 90-day license suspension; misdemeanor6 months imprisonment, $750 fine, 90-day license suspension

*Containers left blank is “No Limit”

Higher Amounts of Vehicular, Property Damage, & Insurance Premiums

The rate of incidence and damage to public property (including streets) is much higher. Additionally, street racing breaks laws and drivers (and passengers) often fail to follow safety precautions or use equipment necessary in a standard race car.

A steady increase in your auto insurance premium is guaranteed. Look at the average increase you will pay by insurer with the table below.

Insurance CompanySpeedingReckless Driving
Travelers1.433x1.624x
Hartford1.452x1.612x
Progressive1.399x1.601x
MetLife1.485x1.600x
Allstate1.377x1.598x
Liberty Mutual1.462x1.592x
State Farm1.379x1.590x
Farmers Insurance1.295x1.587x

For example, if you are paying a $1,500 premium with a careless speeding ticket you could pay at much $2,150. For reckless driving you could pay $2,436. Which is $650 and $936 in additional cost per year for the next three years.

All I can is “Wow!”

A report from CNN suggests that there are generally three types of street racing challenges: spontaneous contests between drivers who wind up meeting up at the same stop light, roving parties where racers take over highways, and planned events where racers compete for money.

Each challenge poses a threat to racers and innocent motorists alike. It only takes one careless acceleration or swift turn of the wheel to cause a fatal accident.

State with the highest amount of drivers insured. Massachusetts is the highest.

Note: As illustrated, the drivers with the highest amount of drivers insured. Massachusetts is the highest at 96.2%. Or only 3.8% of drivers are uninsured in the state. Maine is at 95.3% insured drivers or 4.7% of drivers are uninsured, and so on.

An Unlikely Event from Street Racing in Oklahoma

In October, an 18-year old Tulsa resident, Cing Uap, was killed in a collision involving street racers. Uap was returning home from a church function when her family’s minivan was struck by another car traveling almost 100 miles per hour.

Uap died from her injuries while her injured siblings were expected to recover. The driver, who collided with the van, had a pending arrest dependent on toxicology reports.

“When it comes to states with many uninsured drivers, Oklahoma has more than its fair share: Only 74 percent of its drivers are insured. It also has one of the 15 worst scores in DUIs per thousand drivers and the number of people killed per thousand drivers in auto accidents.” – CBSNews.com

The other street racer fled the scene of the accident. Both street racing and fleeing the scene of a crime are illegal and are most likely to be charged as such regardless of the outcome of the toxicology report.

Increase consequences from street racing such as collisions, auto thefts, etc.

Note: The percentage increase in consequences from street racing. There is an increase in traffic collisions plus bodily injury. An increase in trespassing and property damage, plus auto thefts.

Glorification of Street Racing? or Not?

The problem of street racing in Oklahoma remains prominent as it has made a place for itself on reality television. “Street Outlaws”, a Discovery Channel show, glorifies reckless driving and continues to excite viewers with dangerous and illegal driving behaviors.

On one hand, street racing continues to thrive in Oklahoma cities, on the other hand, police officers are given concrete evidence (through watching the reality show) that can assist them in catching and taking charge of a hard-to-catch act of reckless driving.

Increase of auto accidents year by year from street racing and social media.

Note: The amount of vehicle accidents year by year from street racing. Many law enforcement and experts believe the increase in accidents is fueled by social media. Participants in street racing like to post the exploits on social media. Popular hashtags are #streetrace, #streeto, #streetdrift, #streetoutlaws, and #1320.

Ways to Stay Safe while Driving on Oklahoma Roadways

While many street racers take to the streets during the nighttime hours, many innocent motorist need to be aware of the dangers associated with careless street racers and how to avoid being caught in the path of street race.

If you witness a street race, try to pull over to safety and call the authorities.

Like any aggressive and reckless driver, don’t try to take matters into your own hands. Never challenge a driver, make obscene gestures, or make equally dangerous driving decisions.

States with the highest amount of street racers per 100K drivers.

Note: As illustrated, the state with the highest amount of street racers is Oklahoma with 11.1 drivers per 100,000. Followed by Nevada with 7.64 drivers per 100,000, and so on.  Source

If possible, avoid street racing “hot spots”. Teenagers are impressionable and make up a large demographic of “street racing” fans.

If you have a teen driver, have a frank discussion about the danger behind illegal street racing, emphasizing that life does not, in fact, need to imitate art.

Consequences & Final Thoughts

For many drivers, the need for speed is a fantasy that most responsible drivers leave to the imagination, rather than act out on the road.

There are too many consequences for reckless and illegal driving behaviors; leave the racing to the professionals and the stunt actors on the big screen.

Sources

http://www.newson6.com/story/

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a26101/illegal-street-racing-wont-go-away/

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/entertainment/a29234/everything-we-know-about-fast-and-furious-8/

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/g4289/50-states-speeding-laws-flipbook/

https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/traffic-ticket-calculator.aspx

http://www.ktvn.com/story/

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars

Jacob Masters

Jacob Masters

Jacob Masters is a freelance writer and author who has worked in the health industry for over a decade. His goal in life is to increase the internet knowledge base one article at a time. He also likes to push the boundaries through his city wide evening excursions as a guerrilla gardener.

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