A very unfortunate collision happened last night in Prince George (PG) county last night with eight people killed:
ACCOKEEK, Md. (AP) — A car plowed into a group of street-racing fans obscured by a cloud of tire smoke on a highway Saturday, killing eight people and scattering bodies in the early morning darkness. At least five others were injured in the gruesome wreck along a flat, isolated stretch of highway about 20 miles south of
Washingtonknown for illegal races.
I was upset by the very poor journalism from the media. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a drama or a news broadcast; so like anyone else, I shared my thoughts about it on their Web site. Here’s what I said:
My condolences go out to the families affected by the recent street racing accident in MD. However, I would like share my thoughts on this matter.
I am deeply disappointed by the media in the sensationalizing street racing. Just because that was the event does not necessarily mean that was the cause. Perhaps the driver was under the influence or became distracted and lost control of the vehicle.
The media seemed to focus on the fact street racing occurs with alleged minimal enforcement from police. This is upsetting because they haven’t actively interviewed the participants or law enforcement on the matter.
I am a current street racer. I drive safely and do not risk the lives of others. Where I come from, racing would happen on rural, straight, and quiet roads so you and your peer would be able to focus on each other, the cars and the road. I acknowledge the risks each time I go full throttle, as every driver should. Typically, the Virginia area is very poor for street racers because of the curvy nature of the roads, but it doesn’t stop the locals from doing it.
This leads one final question that I can help answer for you, FOX-5 et al — Why? Why we race could be aggregated into three reasons:
– Lack of available 1/4 mile drag tracks. There is a lack of available (open) drag racing tracks. Street racers are drag racers at heart and want to race legally; however, barriers like costly admission or closed tracks means racing gets done in the streets and highways.
– It’s a sport. It’s novel. It’s a subculture. Much like other smaller niches like dance club scenes, street racing has its own subculture. Think of “Fast and Furious” but scaled down a bit, should give some insight.
– Law enforcement only pushes street racing into the streets. Instead of state legislatures, reach out programs or small businesses providing a safe drag racing environment — they choose to push street racers out of their jurisdiction so it becomes “not their problem.” Absolving the problem is not solving the problem.
I’ve often advocated and written to law enforcement pitching the idea of closing of one street and have it funded via local sponsors while promoting sober and safe driving is one way to build strong synergies between citizens and police. Even for a nominal fee, one can “race a cop” and that money can be used for provide further “safe” street racing programs for cities. Unfortunately, I get the response “Thanks for your interest –” which means they don’t care. Street racing enforcement is all about money. Issuing a $3000 “Reckless Driving” citation (possibly sending the Coroner later) is more profitable than promoting a safe automotive enthusiast community.
I don’t truly blame the media for the bad journalism, it just is disappointing when I see a story about something I’m very passionate about reported in a poor way. It’s not just an insult to the reporters, it’s an insult to the people who passed away and an insult to an entire subculture.