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Street Racing as a Hazard in Tampa, Florida

If you have been involved in a an SUV or car accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez at 813-755-9500
street car racing in tampa

Back in November 2022, the Tampa Bay Times published an article featuring online street racing videos taken from within the County. The article specifically noted the frequency of street races occurring on the Gandy Bridge connecting South Tampa to St. Petersburg.

Because Tampa Bay area traffic has a reputation for heavy congestion and frequent accidents, the idea of street racing occurring in the city areas may seem ridiculous. How can anyone fly down the road at triple-digit speeds when it always feels like rush hour?

But street racing does occur in the area, and while illegal, the dangers can still be very real for both the drivers and everyone else in, on, or close to the roads. 

Is Street Racing Legal In Florida?

Florida Statute 316.191 addresses a variety of street racing activities, including stunt riding and spectating at a street race. Some actions listed in the statute include:

  • Drifting
  • Burnout
  • Doing Doughnuts
  • Street takeover
  • Wheelies

What Are the Potential Hazards of Street Racing in Florida?

The potential dangers of street racing can include:

Collisions

The possibility of collision damage rises exponentially with street racing. Any motor vehicle moving at high speeds can effectively become a very heavy battering ram, but racing creates further problems by also limiting the driver’s visible clarity and the ability to avoid unexpected road obstructions, other vehicles, and pedestrians. 

Property Damage

By definition, a speeding driver that loses control of the vehicle has no way to control how or where the vehicle will come to a stop. That reality can result in vehicles crashing through walls, store fronts, signs, or anything else within a short distance of the car’s immediate location. In addition to vehicle damage and personal injury, the property damage in question could result in immediate negative results for the surrounding area, such as power outages and traffic blockage.

Pedestrians

We tend to think of street racing as a nighttime activity, when fewer cars on the road make it easier to speed on the streets. While that idea broadly proves true to Tampa area traffic, the same cannot be said of pedestrian activity.

Although less likely to travel by foot at nighttime, pedestrians can by any Tampa-area road at all hours of the day, making them a potential victim of street racing collisions. 

Bicyclists

Although bicycle riders share the same road responsibilities as drivers since they operate a vehicle on the road, bicycle riders using sidewalks get classified as pedestrians. As such, bicyclists can be vulnerable to street racing accidents as both vehicle operators and pedestrians. 

What Is Street Racing?

Street racing is defined in Florida Statute 316.191 as the act of racing in cars on public roads outside of licensed or authorized racetracks. This illegal activity puts both participants and bystanders at risk and is a serious violation of Florida state law. The penalties for participating or spectating in street racing are severe, including fines, license suspensions, and even jail time. Moreover, police can impound vehicles used in street racing, and take permanent possession of them after a second offense within five years of a prior conviction.

Where Are The Hot Spots For Street Racing In Tampa Bay?

Street racing has been an ongoing issue in the Tampa Bay Area for years and law enforcement officials have identified several key locations where the activity is most common. The 3 most common areas include: 

  1. Gandy Boulevard; 
  2. Fourth Street North; and 
  3. 28th Street North in St. Petersburg. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reports that street racers tend to move locations to avoid detection.

Is Street Racing On The Rise In Tampa Bay?

According to law enforcement (Tampa Police, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol), street racing is on the rise in Tampa Bay, with more incidents being reported in both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Law enforcement is trying to slow down the practice and ensure public safety.

Tampa Personal Injury Attorney

Because street racing presents so many potential dangers to so many potential victims, it’s important to have legal professionals by your side in the event you suffer an accident because of street racing. 

But not just any legal professional will get the job done. It’s important to have an attorney who understands personal injury cases, has an understanding of local laws and practices regarding traffic accidents and injuries, and knows how the local legal system operates in regard to personal injury claims involving street racing and other driving-related situations. 

As a family-owned law firm based in Tampa, we understand the importance of safe driving and protection. To find out more about how we can help, contact us today.

Tampa Auto Accident Injury Lawyer

No one wants to eliminate the enjoyment and happiness that the fall and holiday season brings to all of us. But it is easy to see how careless planning and failure to take common-sense precautions could lead to a tragedy that would overshadow any holiday joy. Following the simple steps outlined here can help you and your family genuinely enjoy a safe and fun-filled season.

Holidays are a fun time of year but also the most dangerous so it is important to be vigilant while having fun. After a record high few years of pedestrian accidents, this should be a priority for everyone.

When you are completely exposed to crash impact, an accident can result in devastating damage for you and just minimal damage to the car and driver. Your injuries and expenses after could be life-changing, and it is only right for you to want justice.

Many accident victims are unsure about whether or not to get an attorney, especially while going through such a hard and painful time. That is completely understandable, but lawyers know the legal side of recovering from accident losses, which can benefit you in some major ways. Hiring an attorney you trust can maximize your compensation, give you peace of mind, and help you return to your life.

Trial Attorney Martin J. Hernandez can build a legal case for you to hold the at-fault party responsible–not only for your financial losses, but for the pain and suffering you’ve had to go through. To learn more about what your claim might be worth, call us at (813) 755-9500 or find us online to set up your free consultation.

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