Street racing has become a way of life across most of Florida, but it’s a dangerous habit that needs to stop according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Florida is now one of the top five states in the country for illegal drag racing of both motorcycles and cars. There are dozens of deadly crashes each year tied to street races. The Florida Highway Patrol hands out thousands of traffic citations each year for racing, but that has done little to stop the problem.

Each day, it seems that the news has another story about a tragic accident tied to street racing. In August of last year, an elderly woman was killed while riding in her granddaughter’s car. The car was hit by a speeding Honda Civic, that was suspected to be involved in a drag race at the time of accident. A few months earlier, a young mother was rear-ended by another street racer. She suffered a severe brain injury and later died at a Tampa hospital. These are just two examples of the many tragic accidents that claim lives of innocent people on Florida roads every day.

Attorney Randal Spivey called for officers to crack down on drag racing. “Florida’s streets and highways are not for street racing,” he said. “Street racing is dangerous, can be deadly and is illegal. Florida’s street racing law, the ‘Luis Rivera Ortega Street Racing Act’, named for Luis who lost his life when the bicycle he was riding was hit by a street racing vehicle, outlines the penalties.”

Florida law does indeed include stiff consequences for drivers who are caught in repeated drag racing offenses. If you are convicted of street racing as a first offense, you’ll be given a misdemeanor, fined a minimum of $500, and lose your driving privileges for a full year.

With each subsequent offense, the penalties grow more serious. Street racing laws apply to those who drive both cars and motorcycles.

“Drag racing is not only illegal, but it’s very dangerous,” said Christopher Ligori, a personal injury attorney in Tampa. “It seems like harmless fun in the moment and it’s especially tempting for young drivers, but it only takes a split second for an accident to happen. Would it really be worth that quick adrenaline rush if you caused a wreck that killed a small child? What if you accidentally hit a pregnant woman, an elderly man, or maybe someone in your family?”

The risks of drag racing cannot be overstated. With Florida’s busy highways already crowded with tourist traffic and daily commuters, there is enough risk for collisions without adding high speed racing to the equation. Cities across the Sunshine State are cracking down on drag racing, with officers trained to specifically target racers with citations. If you want to avoid expensive fines, losing your driver’s license, and even potential time behind bars, then stay far from the street racing lifestyle that pulls so many people in each year.