KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Ross: We need to increase the consequences for street racing

Jul 18, 2023, 7:34 AM | Updated: 9:16 am

seattle street racing...

Seattle residents fed up with street racing could find some relief if a new proposal makes it through the city council. (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

(Photo by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

I sense that we’re reaching a critical mass of citizens who are tired of dodging speeders and are really tired of street racing. What I’m not sensing is the resolve to control the problem.

I hear plenty of warnings and lecturing and finger-wagging, but lectures don’t change anything because speeding is like graffiti; defiance is the whole point.

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Do you know who’s actually doing something about it? The European Union. By this time next year, every new car sold in the EU must have a built-in anti-speeding system. It’s called Intelligent Speed Assistance, or ISA, and it senses the local speed limit, so the car slows down automatically, which also forces you to get better mileage.

The United States, of course, isn’t even close to adopting this, but thanks to those EU regulations, every car manufacturer now has the speed-limiting technology, so we could if we wanted to.

And you may ask, Dave, what happens when you mix the new cars, which automatically slow down, with the older ones, which do not?

Good point; imagine a bunch of cars suddenly slowing down in a speed zone without regard for the prevailing speed of everybody else. That could be a safety hazard too.

But, in a perfect world, it could also be a way of establishing a new prevailing speed if other drivers decide to buy in. I’ve been trying that approach, whenever I find a car actually obeying the speed limit, I try to fall in line and give him some support.

Now, as for street racing, at the very least, we have to update a few laws.

Several states punish not only the street racers but anyone within 200 feet of a street race, plus they impound everybody’s car, participants and spectators.

But here in Washington, street racing is just treated as reckless driving.

License suspension, under one year in jail, and you get your car back. You might be required to install an ignition interlock. Whoopee!

How about instead, the cars are automatically confiscated and crushed? Especially if they’ve been modified.

And finally, one more thing: car ads on TV. Some automakers still make speed a selling point.

When I see a car ad that focuses on speed, that tells me this is a company catering to drivers who think everybody else is expendable. Why would you buy a car from a company like that?

Car ads should be all about safety and the high quality of the built-in FM radio. And okay, if that doesn’t work, you can throw in some sex. But only if it’s slow sex.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: We need to increase the consequences for street racing