U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Street Racing

NCJ Number
Kenneth J. Peak; Ronald W. Glensor
Date Published
December 2004
64 pages

After reviewing the problem of "street racing" (using public streets to race cars) and its causes, this guide presents a checklist for analyzing a local street-racing problem, describes responses to the problem, and presents evaluative findings on police responses to street racing.


Although casualties from street racing have not been tracked by government nor the insurance industry, an examination of news reports and police data from 10 major U.S. cities and extrapolation based on national population figures indicates that at least 50 people die each year as a result of street racing. Street racing is a logical extension of youths' attraction to motor vehicles and the competitive measure of a vehicle's performance (speed) and driver skill. Enamored with the car-racing tradition, street racers organize elaborate racing functions that involve "flaggers," timekeepers, lookouts with computers mounted in their cars, cell phones, police scanners, and Web sites that announce race locations and calculate the odds of getting caught by the police. The harms related to street racing include vehicle crashes, noise, vandalism, loss of commercial revenue, and excessive deterioration of public streets. Steps in mounting an effective response to street racing are an analysis of the nature and extent of the local problem, enlistment of community support for addressing the problem, the education of and warning to street racers, surveillance of the street-racing scene, encouragement of others to exercise informal control over street-racing participants, the enactment and enforcement of relevant ordinances and statutes, the impounding and/or forfeiting of vehicles involved in street racing, encouraging the support of private businesses, closing streets attractive to street racers, and encouraging and facilitating the relocation of street racing to a legal racing area. 52 notes, 33 references, 16 annotated recommended readings, and appended summary of responses to street racing