Law enforcement officials on Fort Bragg have turned their attention to a dangerous and often lethal hobby of some local motorists — street racing. While prearranged street racing is nothing new to Fayetteville and surrounding cities, and certainly not as prevalent as it was in the early 2000s, it is still exacting a toll on the community.
In June, a Soldier and his friend were killed during a prearranged street race on Fayetteville’s Morganton Road. The accident not only killed the two racers, but seriously injured two uninvolved motorists, when their Honda Civic experienced a head-on collision then flipped off the road.
“The main concern with this type of activity is disregard for other motorists on public streets,” said Richard Eppler, garrison safety manager. “ The potential for a catastrophic incident is omnipresent in this particular high-risk activity.”
There are a number of laws, regulations and statutes in both civilian law enforcement and Army policy condemning street racing. Punishments can include citations for racing and reckless endangerment and immediate seizure of the racer’s vehicle.
Since January of last year, five cars have been seized, and 37 people have been cited for street racing.
But, law enforcement officials have said the number of street racing incidents are no higher in Fayetteville than in other cities of its size and population.
“It’s calmed down a lot,” said Sgt. Eric Dow, Fayetteville Police Department patrol chief, in a Fayetteville Observer interview. “It’s not as flagrant as it used to be, when we had tons and tons of it out there in the mid-2000s.”
Despite this, local safety and law enforcement agencies are not downplaying the dangers of street racing.
It only takes one reckless mistake to end several lives and dramatically alter others, said Eppler.
He emphasized that it’s the responsibility of every Soldier to evaluate risks and rewards when participating in any activity, especially activities as dangerous as street racing.
“Soldiers must always evaluate the risks associated with any event they participate in,” Eppler said. “It is important to not only think of what may happen to you, but what catastrophic impact will your actions have on innocent bystanders or other participants.”
Both Fort Bragg and Fayetteville law enforcement agencies encourage that any racing be done in legal, regulated and safe environments, like the Fayetteville Motor Sports Park.