Putting the brakes on illegal street racing

February 25, 2013 8:24:04 PM PST
Illegal street racing has been around as long as cars have been on the road.

With the advent of social media, they are popping up more and more often at the drop of dime, even on local highways.

But, putting a brake on the races is easier said than done.

They take over the streets, their engines rev, and the danger is real, it's not a movie set.

"All it takes is one slight turn of the wheel and the car flips over!"

It's Newark at midnight on Routes 1 and 9 right near the airport.

Dozens of people have stopped traffic and are getting ready for a street race.

It happens fast.

The race was back in June and an Eyewitness News camera was in the crowd.

As quickly as it begins it ends.

Everyone rushed back to their own cars.

That's because it is not only very dangerous but very illegal.

"As far as policing it, it's very difficult. We show up and their first reaction is to scatter. They have very fast cars and as a department we are not going to chase someone for a motor vehicle violation," said Samuel DeMaio, Newark Police Director.

"It's a past time, you know what I'm saying?" Miguel said.

Miguel only wants to us to use his first name.

He has been to the races on 1 and 9 and knows what drivers do to their cars to make them faster.

"You can imagine they come with like 100 horsepower and when they are done it's like 400 horsepower," Miguel said.

Eyewitness News found an engine that was a pretty good example of what some of them look like.

There is a stab bar to help the cars when they take sharp corners. There is an aftermarket air intake. That is important because the hot engines need to breathe as much cool air as possible.

At car tunes in Newark they do not outfit cars to race.

They focus on audio upgrades.

But everyone knows about the races through social media.

If you look closely the drivers put cameras on their cars and then post YouTube videos.

They tweet and Facebook as well.

Police Director DeMaio says there isn't much he can do about it because right now the penalties are so low.

"We are looking to explore with our city council to see if there is some legislation we can do locally to try to make it more of a penalty," DeMaio said.

Until then the brazen pop up street races will continue.

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