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Street Racing Danger Increasing

Street Racing Danger Increasing



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John Daley ReportingStreet Racing is a growing problem. An Eyewitness News Investigation recently documented the danger. Now state lawmakers are wondering if the penalties should be toughened.

You can find street racing on State Street, 7th East, 4500 South and Van Winkle. It happens in Logan and St. George, Wendover and Vernal. Police say the cars are faster, the groups are getting more organized, and the danger is growing.

Home video captures the problem--young street racers fly down the Van Winkle Expressway at 130 miles per hour. It's a danger Annette Warburton knows all too well.

Annette Warburton, Parent of Street Racing Victim: "As a parent, you think that when you send a child off to school, you just assume they are going to be coming back in the door. But due to the choices of others that wasn't the case."

In 2001 Annette's son Craig was walking home from school when he was struck and killed by a car going 80 miles an hour that spun out while street racing. Today she and others urge a legislative committee to consider tougher penalties for street racing.

Annette Warburton: "I want them to know that street racing is a public endangerment. I want them to know that the penalties as they currently stand are not effective in curbing or even discouraging this."

Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah: "They're investing like 20,000 dollars into their cars. So when you slap on a 200 dollar fine, that's not much."

Doug Binstock, General Manager, Rocky Mountain Raceways: "I think you can't bury your head in the sand about how big a problem street racing can be. And it has grown in other states where there are a ton of fatalities happening. My message was that we've been successful by encouraging them to come to a venue where we can have a little bit of fun with it and get the parents’ support."

Lawmakers discuss everything from stiffening fines to impoundments of cars. Annette Warburton says any tougher measure would be an improvement.

Annette Warburton: "Street racing does kill. My son's death is a direct result of drag racing. And it needs to stop it is getting worse in Utah."

There was no action today, but lawmakers say they want to hear more. This could well lead to a new bill that comes up during the next legislative session in January.

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