Friday, July 24, 2009 - No room for racing on our streets - No room for racing on our streets

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What is it about summer that instills in some people a need for speed and recklessness? As soon as the warm weather arrives the convertible top goes down or the moon roof is up, tunes are cranked and the gas pedal is pressed to the floor.

It's during these months that some people feel the urge to star in their own personal version of The Fast and the Furious: Terror in T.O., dangerously weaving in and out of traffic, running lights and putting their lives and those of others at risk.

Though this year our city can hardly hold the weather to blame, we've already seen enough evidence of street racing and its deadly consequence to demand it be eradicated from our roads and highways.

Last week, two men in their early 20s were charged with street racing, their licenses suspended, cars impounded and fined between $2,000 and $10,000 after they were nabbed driving 200 km/h on a residential stretch in north Etobicoke.

Speed limits exist for a reason. Traffic Services reconstructionists at that street racing incident estimated that under "ideal conditions," with full braking, it would take a car 7.5 seconds and more than the length of two football fields to come to a full stop while driving that fast.

Less fortunate were two high school friends from Scarborough who were killed after a crash on the Don Valley Parkway earlier this month in what police suspect was a case of street racing. A young female passenger was also hospitalized after their car crashed through a guardrail and took out a light standard.

Driving on our city streets and highways is no video game. There's no re-start option when your car's been impounded, your license suspended and you've been assigned a day in court. The quick thrill drivers get in racing at high speeds could be just as quickly dashed when slapped with charges, or worse, when they've caused casualties and forever ruined someone else's life.

Two men from Etobicoke and a third from Mississauga are continuing to live with that weight after their dangerous driving on Hwy. 400 led to the death of a truck driver in June 2007 when his rig was forced off the road and flipped. Their court trials continued this summer.

There's no glamour, no thrill in facing these kinds of consequences. If you're inclined to racing, take it to a professional track because that kind of driving has no place on the streets of Toronto.

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