• Jill Savedoff, Esq., Of Counsel to Gray Law Firm

The City Slowed Down, But Drag Racing Sped Up--Can You Become a Victim?


Since the City essentially closed for business on March 22, 2020, 311 has logged more than five times the number of complaints of drag racing during the same time period in 2019.[1] The complaints arose in areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.[2] The majority of complaints were made in Manhattan. Drag racing is dangerous to person and property. Sadly, this past summer an NYPD officer lost his life in Queens while en route to work and was rear ended by a BMW that was believed to be engaged in a drag race.


Because of the illegal and dangerous nature of drag racing, the threat of being the victim of this activity is high. Even more likely, those reckless individuals may not do the right thing in terms of stopping and identifying themselves. In New York State, the Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(2) requires that drivers who are involved in an incident that results in injury stop and identify themselves by providing their name, address, driver’s license, and insurance card to the injured person or a police officer. A violation of this provision is considered a misdemeanor.


If you are injured by a motor vehicle, either while traveling in another motor vehicle or while you are a pedestrian, and the driver leaves the scene of the accident, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and increase the chance that the motorist eventually will be identified.


1. Do not attempt to follow the other driver. Given that you do not know the condition of the individual, following someone who flees an accident scene is not safe.


2. Rather than following, you should do your best to take note of any details that can help in identifying the motor vehicle, and ultimately, the driver. Try to record the license plate state and number, whether the vehicle has TLC license plates, the make or model of the vehicle, the color of the vehicle, whether there is any writing on the vehicle, or any other identifiers of the vehicle. If you see the driver of that vehicle, try to make note of the driver’s description – male, female, race/ethnicity, facial hair, eyeglasses, hair color and style, etc.


3. Call the police immediately from the location of the accident. Even if you believe that you were not seriously injured, it always is a good idea to have a police report on file.


4. Take photographs at the scene, which include any property damage at the scene, any street signs or signals at the scene, and roadway conditions.


5. If there are witnesses at the scene, you should speak to them. Try to obtain complete names and phone numbers of witnesses, who can independently relay the events that transpired.


6. Speak to a lawyer immediately if you have been injured. A lawyer is likely able to use the information that you have to identify the offending vehicle and reckless driver. In addition, it is important for you to know your rights even if the offending vehicle never is identified. There are avenues available to compensate victims of hit and run accidents. However, these avenues often require that certain paperwork be completed and often have deadlines by which a claim must be made. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to assist you to ensure that you are fully compensated for any injuries suffered as a result of a hit and run accident.

[1] NY Post Metro September 15, 2020 - https://nypost.com/2020/09/15/nyc-drag-racing-complaints-soar-during-covid-19-pandemic [2] WCBS Radio 880 - https://www.radio.com/wcbs880/articles/news/drag-racing-complaints-surge-during-pandemic-in-nyc;

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