Racing is a very serious traffic offense that can result in several significant penalties. Approximately one hundred individuals are killed annually in racing accidents while many others suffer serious injuries. In addition to penalties that can directly arise from such a charge, a history of racing on one’s record can result in the disqualification from limited driving permits. Georgia law enforcement also takes racing charges particularly seriously, which means that a significant number of these charges are made each year and Georgia law enforcement pursues such cases with particular focus. For individuals who are charged with racing, retaining the services of skilled legal counsel is likely a good idea. A seasoned Georgia lawyer can prove particularly helpful in making sure that one has a strong legal defense in responding to such a charge.
Statistics About Racing in Georgia
The statistics about the dangers posed by racing in the state of Georgia are overwhelming. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 153 individuals were killed in 122 crashes while racing between 2001 to 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, changed how the agency classifies racing in 2009 so that an accident is considered to involve racing only if law enforcement charged at least one driver with racing. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considered racing to occur if either one of the involved drivers was charged with such an offense or investigators concluded that racing was involved in the incident. Nationally, it is estimated that for every 1,000 people that in participate in street drag races, there are 49 individuals that are injured.
The Types of Accidents that Occur due to Racing
There are actually two types of racing: spontaneous races and organizes races.
Spontaneous races often begin when two or more motor vehicle pull up to one another at a stop light. The motor vehicle drivers begin by acknowledging one another and then when the traffic light becomes green the motorists race one another.
Organized races are similar to the activities depicted in the Fast and the Furious series. These races are covert in nature and often involve numerous vehicles.
The high speeds and reckless driving patterns that are often displayed in cases of racing create serious risks of death and injury for motor vehicle operators, riders, and other individuals who might be in the area. The most serious types of accidents are known to occur due to racing mishaps including head-on collisions, t-bone accidents, multiple-vehicle collisions, sideswipe accidents, and vehicle rollovers. The greater the speed of the vehicles involved, often the more catastrophic the resulting accident is because colliding with a motor vehicle while a vehicle is excessively speeding greatly increases that chances that the driver will lose control of the motor vehicle.
Racing has the potential to cause fatalities and a variety of serious injuries including: bone crush injuries, burns, broken teeth, contusions, facial lacerations, heart attacks, hemorrhaging, internal bleeding, organ damage, paraplegia, permanent scarring, quadriplegia, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Applicable Georgia Law
Law in the state of Georgia defines racing as using one or more vehicles in order to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle, outdistance, outgain, prevent another vehicle from passing, or test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes.
The phrase “drag racing” is used in the state of Georgia to refer to the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerated speeds in an attempt to outdistance each other or operation of one or more vehicles of a course from the same point to the same point for the purpose of comparing relative speeds.
Consequences of a Racing Charge
A racing charge can result in several significant penalties for motorists in the state of Georgia because this offense is classified under the misdemeanor sentencing statute.
These penalties include fines of up to one thousand dollars in addition to court costs, potential license suspension if an individual’s driver’s license points accumulate to fifteen or more points within a twenty four month period, license suspension for six months for motor vehicle operators under the age of twenty one, community service, probation, and even time in jail.
Individuals who are deemed to be “habitual violators” can expect to be charged with even more significant penalties. Individuals who are considered to be habitual violators have been charged with a third conviction of any combination of the following offenses within a five year period: driving under the influence, feticide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, or serious injury by vehicle. Because these charges are particularly serious in nature, individuals often find it essential to retain the services of an experienced attorney. Not to mention, insurance rates also often increase for individuals who are convicted of drag racing.
Racers are not the only individuals who can be injured or killed in racing activities. When other individuals including passengers and bystanders are harmed by racing activities, these individuals frequently can initiate civil actions against liable parties as well. A skilled attorney can also prove essential in defending against these claims.
Contact a Seasoned Attorney
Even though racing charges in the state of Georgia are particularly serious, individuals should remember that being charged with racing does not automatically make an individual guilty of such an offense. Even if an individual is guilty of racing, there are several potential defenses that an individual could raise. There also potential methods for an individual to negotiate their case to reach an alternative outcome. Do not hesitate the talented legal counsel at Yeargan, Barber & Kert to begin taking strong steps to create the best possible defense. Our law firm is always available to help clients who are charged with racing. Our legal counsel also remains current with all these most recent changes and developments regarding drag racing and racing law in the state Georgia and knows how to use this knowledge to fight against racing charges.