Speed is the leading cause of deadly car accidents on San Diego freeways, and now law enforcement is worried they’ll see more fatalities at the wheel due to a recent spike in illegal street racing.
According to the CHP, the stretch on Interstate 15 from Centre City Parkway in Escondido to Fallbrook has been a hot spot for illegal drag racing and officers are cracking down.
On any given day, officials say the somewhat flat, straight roadway makes it a tempting area for street racing – and CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said racers are getting more daring by the day.
"They are pushing it to the limit. They want to see how fast their cars can go with whatever modifications they have and they're putting themselves and the public in danger," Bettencourt explained.
To curb the disturbing and potentially deadly trend of drivers who hit speeds far beyond the legal limit, the CHP is teaming up with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and San Diego Police Department to add more patrol cars.
"Their actions don't just affect them. When they go out there and they drive fast, unfortunately if they get into a crash and they kill themselves or kill somebody else, so many people are going to be affected," said Bettencourt.
The officer said law enforcement is not telling drivers they can’t soupe-up their vehicles, they’re just reminder drivers that those modifications need to be done the legal way.
And, if drivers choose not to listen, there will be consequences.
“We are going to be out there. We are aware of what's going on. And if you are going to play the game, you're going to pay the price," Bettencourt added.
CHP officials said they want to stop local street racing before more people get hurt or killed. Officials said that drivers who spot others street racing should immediately report it to 911.