Partly thanks to the pandemic.
Illegal drag racing has ballooned in recent years, not only in America, but across the globe, and according to experts, these activities are being fueled by TV shows, online videos, and even big-budget Hollywood movies. But possibly the biggest contributor to the spread of illegal street racing has come as a rather nasty surprise: Covid-19. With the roads cleared of traffic and people, illegal drag racers have taken to the streets in full force, and according to KTLA, things are getting out of hand.
Tami Eggleston, a sports psychologist who is also into the sport of drag racing believes that the pandemic brought people with similar interests closer together and that this same logic applies to the illegal drag racing scene.
"With Covid, when we were separated from people, I think people sort of bonded in their interest groups, so that need to want to socialize and be around other people brought the racers out," said Eggleston.
Those participating in these races come from all walks of life and compete in everything from clapped-out Honda Civics, to highly modified Chevy Corvettes, and even exotic machines such as Porsche 911s and Ferraris. Street racers tend to go to quiet, and oftentimes abandoned roads out of town, but in densely populated areas, they have taken to blocking streets and using sheer numbers to thwart police intervention. This has led to numerous deaths on American roads.
Governor Brian Kemp last week signed a bill that mandates ten days of jail time for those caught in the act, with a third conviction of this type within five years resulting in the offender's car being seized by authorities. "This illegal activity is very dangerous. Our goal is simple: to protect every family in every community," said Kemp. From Portland to Denver and even Albuquerque, racers have taken over the streets, but some, like Ray Proper, 58, who started racing when he was 16, are starting to see the benefits of legal racing: "You don't have to worry about accidents, animals, kids, birds, anything," he said. The dangers are obvious, and law enforcement is getting tighter, but the romanticism and thrill of street racing is still too enticing for most.