Street Racing Is Illegal in NY
Got a need for speed? You may want to think twice before going “fast and furious” on New York’s streets. Street racing is illegal in New York, and if you are found guilty of street racing, you could go to jail for up to 30 days and/or pay a fine between $300 and $525. If you are convicted of a second offense within 12 months, you could go to jail for up to 6 months and/or pay a fine between $525 and $750.
However, the New York Department of Transportation (DOT) may allow for races, speed contests, exhibitions of speed, or other similar special events under limited circumstances. For instance, if you want to host a drag race, you need to submit a written application to the DOT. If your application is approved, then the DOT will establish rules to protect public safety that you must follow. Other regulations may be imposed depending on your particular sanctioned event.
In most cases, however, the street racing you see on TV, in movies, and all around you is illegal. Whether some teenagers are showing off their new wheels or a group of friends are seeking a rush of adrenaline, the bottom line is that street racing is illegal and dangerous.
Besides getting traffic tickets, you could also get arrested.
If you don’t get cited for street racing, there’s a good chance you’ll get a ticket for speeding. Speeding is among the most common traffic violations people commit, therefore, if you get a ticket for speeding, you’re looking at some steep penalties. Fines range from $90 to $600 depending on how fast you’re driving over the posted speed limit, and you could even go to jail for up to 30 days if circumstances call for it. In addition, 3 to 11 points could be assessed to your driving record, depending on how many miles per hour you drove over the speed limit.
Street racing almost always involves reckless driving. A misdemeanor, reckless driving occurs when a person drives in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of a public highway or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Given its nature and extremities, street racing is perceived as a danger to others with whom racers share the roads. On top of jail time and fines, you could get 5 points added to your driving record. If you accumulate 11 points within 18 months, your driver’s license could get suspended.
How Is New York Responding to Street Racers?
New York City data reveals that illegal street racing has nearly quintupled during the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2019, 73 complaints were made, whereas, in August 2020, 214 complaints were made. Between March 20th and September 10th of 2020, a total of 1,057 complaints were made about street racing, compared to a total of 239 calls made during the same period in 2019.
For these reasons and more, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced a law that would authorize New York City to operate its speed camera program overnight and on weekends in areas that are hotspots for illegal street racing. The bill would also change New York’s laws on races and speed contests to help hold racers accountable for violating those laws if they did not pre-plan a racecourse.
New York City’s speed camera program currently operates between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM on weekdays. Under the bill, however, NYC would operate speed cameras at any time in neighborhoods where the community has identified illegal street racing as a problem.
Although the proposed bill did not pass, it goes to show the efforts that legislators are making to deter speed racing. Further legislation may be introduced in the future as speed racing persists.
That said, if you got a ticket for street racing or other traffic violations, you should fight it with the help of a former New York traffic court judge. Attorney Martin Kron has the insights and experience to help you resolve your charges with minimal damage to your record.
Contact us online or at (212) 235-1525 to get started!