States with the worst street racing problems
The states with the most street racing may not be the places you expect. Is your state on the list?
Drivers with a street racing violation: 8.3 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 206.3 per 100,000 drivers
Though the Gem State still maintains a spot on Insurify’s list of the states with the most street racing, it’s fallen significantly from No. 2 in 2021 to No. 10 in 2023.
Unlike other states, the Idaho statute forbidding street racing has a caveat that the law doesn’t “prohibit organized motoring activities upon the highways where speed is a primary objective.” In other words, Idaho drivers who want to drag race or show off their high-speed maneuvering skills just need to find a legal race or track where they’ll be welcome.
That goes for spectators, too. Idaho considers “unlawful race attendance” to be a misdemeanor — so if you’d like to watch skilled drivers in fast cars, make sure it’s at a legal and organized race.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 8.4 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of up to $5,000, up to 364 days in jail, and suspension of license for no less than 30 days
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 172.1 per 100,000 drivers
The danger in Washington’s street racing scene doesn’t just stem from speeding cars — illegal races in the Evergreen State also seem to attract gun violence. Four people were shot and injured at a street race in Olympia in April 2023, and a street race in Kent in May resulted in five people being hospitalized for gunshot wounds.
In part because of these violent altercations, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an anti-street racing bill into law this year, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
This bill not only expands the definition of street racing to include drifting (intentionally oversteering a vehicle in order to lose traction while turning), but it also increases the penalties for street racing. After the law goes into effect, first-time offenders’ vehicles will be impounded for 72 hours. Further convictions of street racing will result in seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle.
8. District of Columbia
Drivers with a street racing violation: 8.9 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of up to $250 and up to three months in jail for the first offense; a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail for subsequent offenses
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 97.6 per 100,000 drivers
Between unannounced road closures for the security of VIPs and the high population density, you might think that racing would be close to impossible in the nation’s capital.
However, D.C. drivers have relatively high rates of street racing compared to the national average. In a particularly shocking incident in 2021, two D.C. police officers were charged with reckless driving after racing each other, resulting in the totaling of both their police cruisers.
7. New Mexico
Drivers with a street racing violation: 10.9 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of $25 to $100 and five to 90 days in jail for first offense; fine of $50 to $1,000 and 10 days to six months in jail for subsequent offenses
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 38.1 per 100,000 drivers
Similar to other states, New Mexico saw a huge increase in street racing during the COVID-19 pandemic, probably because legal race tracks were closed. Unfortunately, the police and local government have struggled to combat the problem, in part because state law can preempt local ordinances.
For example, Bernalillo County had previously passed an ordinance that required the forfeiture of a street racer’s car. But New Mexico state law made the ordinance unenforceable. However, the county has passed a new ordinance making street racing and spectating illegal and punishable by a fine and potential jail time, which the locality will be able to enforce.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 12.3 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail, plus a driver’s license suspension of six months to two years and six demerit points on the offender’s driver’s license
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 321.3 per 100,000 drivers
Though the Old Dominion is only sixth on our list for street racing, it’s the number one state in the nation for reckless drivers, with 321.3 convictions for this violation per 100,000 drivers over the past seven years.
Seven Virginia cities also appeared on Insurify’s list of cities with the most aggressive drivers earlier this year. While the high rates of reckless driving behavior may be a testament to more heavily enforced traffic laws, perhaps those driving through the state should be on high alert.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 13.2 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 62.7 per 100,000 drivers
The Salt Lake City street racing community claims it uses public roads for its speed exhibitions after the Rocky Mountain Raceway closed in 2018, leaving drivers with no legal tracks for racing.
Unfortunately, the population growth of Utah’s largest city has meant the sleepy streets that used to be “perfect” venues for street racing have become bustling thoroughfares. The increased traffic on those roads amplifies the danger when drivers race on them — and it’s especially worrisome for anyone minding their own business and unaware of the racing.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 15 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of no less than $50 and no more than $500 and/or up to six months in jail
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 165 per 100,000 drivers
Though Montana has the fourth-highest number of illegal street racing violations per 100,000 drivers, car enthusiasts have a number of legal options for drag racing. Spectators who want to watch drivers testing the limits of their cars and their skills can attend one of eight annual race days that the Montana Drag Racers Association hosts to determine the state champion.
And as for aspiring street racers, Yellowstone Drag Strip in Acton, Montana, urges you to “Take it to the track!” This drag racing track offers drivers the opportunity to try their skills on street car nights — in a safe, legal, and controlled environment.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 22.4 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of no less than $250 and no more than $1,500, plus monitored house arrest of no less than seven days or imprisonment of up to six months
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 26.2 per 100,000 drivers
Kansas City has created a practical solution to the problem of illegal street racing: making the roads skid-proof. The city government has installed black discs in the intersections most frequented by drifters, racers, and stunt drivers. The purpose of these discs is to keep cars from skidding or sliding on the pavement — and anyone driving normally won’t even notice them.
Drivers with a street racing violation: 42.4 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of no less than $10 and no more than $100 and/or up to 10 days in jail
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 233.1 per 100,000 drivers
Wyoming has a long history of drag racing, stretching back to the 1950s, and the state still has a number of legal drag strips, dirt tracks, and oval tracks for both driving and spectating.
But there’s a distinct difference between street racing in a controlled, legal, and safe environment and doing so illegally on a public road. Though Wyoming’s street racing violation penalties are relatively lax, drivers in the Equality State are breaking the law when they drag race, drift, or perform stunt driving on public roads.
1. North Dakota
Drivers with a street racing violation: 60.9 per 100,000 drivers
Street racing violation penalty: Fine of $50 or $100, depending on the specific violation
Drivers with a reckless driving violation: 182.6 per 100,000 drivers
Coming in at No. 1 for a second time, North Dakota boasts a whopping 60.9 street racing violations per 100,000 drivers in the past seven years. The city commission of Fargo met in May 2023 to discuss the problem. Although Fargo is open to collaboration with city engineers to create practical, street-level deterrents (such as roundabouts), the city believes street racing is primarily a law enforcement issue.
Law enforcement faces a number of difficulties regarding a crackdown on street racing, according to Fargo City Commissioner Arlette Preston. “Our police department has been trying to catch the speeders, but the percentage who flee are quite high,” she explained in an interview with Insurify.
High-speed police chases are against Fargo policy due to the danger to the public, and Preston reports that North Dakota state law doesn’t allow the city to use cameras to catch and ticket speeders. “So we have to get creative,” Preston said.
“The local police department has brought in the State of ND highway patrol with their helicopter,” she said. “That has allowed the visual sighting and following [of] a speeding vehicle to a destination.”
The public has also suggested desynchronizing the stoplights, adding speed bumps, and even providing a racetrack alternative for the racers. “We have directed engineering to examine these proposals,” Preston says.
Perhaps North Dakota as a state may also want to take another look at its penalties for street racing. Though the Roughrider State has a higher minimum fine than Wyoming, it’s the only state on the top 10 list with no jail time listed as a potential penalty for street racing.