When I was living in Fort Lauderdale, I used to head down to Miami to meet up with friends after my late shift at the coffee shop ended. I got off at 12:30 a.m., so by the time I was heading south on I-95, if was close to 1 o'clock in the morning. I can't tell you how many evenings I saw motorcycles illegally racing down that highway. When they approached me, they'd blow past me on both sides. It was terrifying!
Illegal street racing can take place on city streets or on highways, and it's extremely dangerous to participants, other drivers and pedestrians. A 2008 Maryland street race ended tragically when a driver plowed into a crowd of onlookers [source: AP]. It's also a nuisance for people in residential areas, because street racing is very loud, and races tend to happen late at night. High-speed racing can also damage the streets themselves because of the increased friction from so much quick acceleration and fast braking [source: CBS 2].
In most states, street racing is not only illegal, but is specifically defined in the speeding laws [source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]. It turns out that those racers who used to scare me on the highway in Florida risked their licenses being suspended as well as a maximum 90 days in jail and $500 fine if they were caught. Drag racing -- or "racing on the highway" as it's often called in legal codes -- is a misdemeanor in other states, such as Georgia, which imposes a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail, as well as license suspension [source: NHTSA].