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.

More from Dave Ross: Seattle sunny weather might be too much of a good thing

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.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

seattle mariners...

Frank Sumrall

Rick Rizzs: ‘Mariners, you’re going to win a title next year’

"Well, they just obviously came up a little bit short," the radio voice of the team said Monday. "But my goodness, they gave us one heck of a ride."

14 hours ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: How a lack of diversity is slowing down artificial intelligence’s chances of curing diseases

KIRO Newsradio’s Sam Campbell investigates AI and it’s impact in the medical world. Will AI be able to help cure diseases in everyone, or only a certain demographic in our population? Listen to Seattle’s Morning News, weekdays from 5am to 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

20 hours ago

trump milley speech...

Dave Ross

Ross: General Milley calls out Trump in retirement speech

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired last week after a 44-year career and gave a farewell speech that focused on the Constitution.

21 hours ago

FILE - The company logo shines off the hood of a 2021 K5 sedan on display in the Kia exhibit at the...

Micki Gamez

Gamez: What to know after recall issued for Kia, Hyundai vehicles over fires

Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 3.4 million vehicles in the U.S. and telling owners to park them outside due to the risk of engine compartment fires.

4 days ago

girls phones teach...

Colleen O'Brien

Colleen: Young girls and phones and the patterns we teach

I spoke to New York Times reporter Jessica Bennett, who studied 13-year-old girls for a year, to learn more about their relationship with phones

4 days ago


Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Does grammar still matter? Not according to UW

Jake Harper found that the University of Washington's Informatics department doesn't grade on grammar in students' applications.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Ross: We need to increase the consequences for street racing