Toronto, Ontario — May 2, 2017 — Street racers are more likely to be involved in collisions than other motorists, according to researchers from Western University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). While this result may seem incredibly obvious, the researchers weren’t examining just the data from collisions that occurred during street races.
Instead, what they found was that Ontario motorists who have engaged in street racing at least once in the past year are five times more likely than other drivers to have crashed their vehicle at some point during those 12 months.
The data show one percent of drivers–potentially as many as 86,000 people–admit to street racing at least once in the previous year. Most are more likely to be single, young men. They are also more likely than other motorists to drive after using alcohol or marijuana.
“We know that those who engage in street racing also tend to engage in other risky behaviours that, on their own, can increase crash rates,” said CAMH Scientist and Lead Author Dr. Christine Wickens. “But even when we adjust for other risk variables—age, sex, driving distance, impaired driving—we see this correlation between self-admitted street racers and significantly higher crash numbers.”
Western University family medicine professor Dr. Evelyn Vingilis, who co-authored the report, said, “It’s clear that some people feel a need for speed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if it’s only on the big screen, but in real life, the risks associated with stunt driving have some serious implications, including collisions that are eminently preventable and come at a high cost to health and society.”
Ontario introduced street-racing and stunt-driving legislation in 2007, with penalties that include vehicle impoundment, license suspension, higher fines and possible imprisonment.