Fast but not so furious: San Ramon’s street racing investigated

The secret is out: the San Ramon and Danville areas have their fair share of car racing.

You can hear them at night, and if you happen to venture out late at night, you just might be able to see them speeding out on the back roads, and even the main roads on rare occasions. Though there may not be an official racing ring, the form of racing that does exist, the one visible to the public eye, is prevalent. Sure there’s no “Fast and Furious” racing scene in San Ramon, but the danger that comes with any type of car racing is still present.

What is the type of racing that does exist then? I sat down with a Dougherty alumnus preferring to remain anonymous to find the answer to this very question. During his recent high school days, he took his Volkswagen GTI out at nights in attempts to put it to the test on the road.

“It first started when I would road rage when people would cut me off,” he said.

He soon realized that though he “didn’t have the fastest car out there”, he still thoroughly enjoyed putting his vehicle through its paces. The anonymous alumnus also added that sometimes racing occurs with friends on a less-populated road, or with strangers he sees on the roads.

“Sometimes [racing] can even occur on a freeway,” he added.

Corporal Ritter from the San Ramon Police Department was able to provide insightful information on the issue of street racing in the area. He informed The Tribune that the issue of racing on the streets of San Ramon is a hard one to deal with.

“Most of the time we get calls, it’s late at night — usually out on areas like Windemere Parkway, and it takes us a while to get out there. They [racers] are usually gone by the time we get there.”

When asked how citizens happening to witness a race should address the issue, Corporal Ritter answered, “We don’t encourage you to chase them down. If you can, get us the vehicle’s’ description, license plates and driver’s description.”

While the San Ramon Police Department depends on citizens calling in, Corporal Ritter stressed the warning not to follow vehicles involved, due to the danger it presents.

“Speed kills; you are driving a 5,000 pound killing machine — respect it.”

Many members of the public find the matter concerning, including Dougherty Valley High School students. Senior Musa Jalis displayed deep disdain for street racers, saying that “the actions of these deranged hooligans are breaking down the civil society of San Ramon. We must bring these men to justice.”

“I have indeed witnessed these maniacs revving their vehicles in a confrontational manner,” Jalis added, admitting that he was challenged by one of these racers before.

Senior Kristen Chung also shared Jalis’ distaste for car racing happening around town.

“It bothers me as a driver because people could actually get seriously injured as a result of accidents from reckless driving,” she stated.

Like Jalis, these eager racers have challenged her before, but Chung chooses to “ignore them and laugh to myself”.

Senior Jack Dzvonik displayed similar feelings to his peers, having this to say, “Racing is unbelievably stupid and dangerous. It is a competition between two idiots to see who cares less about living.”

He went on to say, “Everyone is a potential victim.  By racers endangering themselves, they are endangering everyone around them.”

Dzvonik was also asked if he had ever been confronted by one of these racers.

“Every once in awhile you’ll get a 22-year-old man-child go 0 to 60 at a green light in his souped up 2001 Toyota Rust Bucket, but as long as you ignore them and remember that it’s only a race if you make it one, you’ll be fine.”

Street racing is an undeniable problem in the area, one that is against the law and should be avoided by all DV students. Penalties for violating this law include arrest and vehicle impoundment for 30 days, imprisonment for up to three months if convicted of street racing, or aiding or abetting a street race, a fine of up to $1,000, having your driver license revoked, having your vehicle’s insurance canceled or premiums dramatically increased and/or having equipment violations issued, as stated by the DMV. Spectators can also face the same penalties.

To avoid these issues it’s simple: abide by the rules of the road and practice safe driving.