Every Wednesday night between May and November, the fast and furious of a new generation test their mettle against police normally out to squelch their adrenaline-amping fun. They take on uniformed officers in their own squad cars – lights flashing, sirens blaring, no holds barred.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the dozen police agencies that comprise the “Top the Cops” program at Infineon Raceway, a short spin north of the Golden Gate Bridge, say there’s a method to their apparent madness: Illicit street racing has moved from rural roads to crowded suburban thoroughfares, causing more accidents and imperiling bystanders.
From San Ysidro to Santa Rosa, the illegal duels rev into high gear each summer, when young drivers are more prone to mimic the antics of such movies as “2 Fast 2 Furious,” due out today, the sequel to the 2001 summer hit about the supercharged world of L.A. street racing.
In the last decade, more than 68,000 teenagers have died in auto crashes, making motor vehicle mishaps the leading cause of death for young adults nationwide, according to the Insurance Group for Highway Safety. The number of fatal crashes nationwide attributed to street racing rose to 135 in 2002, up from 72 the year before, federal statistics show.