‘Major safety concern:’ Richland PD warns drivers of street racing increase

RICHLAND, Wash. — As the weather gets warmer, more drivers are hitting the road. However, that could cause what members of the Richland Police Department (RPD) are calling “major safety concerns.”

According to RPD, hotter temperatures lead to “people collecting in local parking lots, most typically on the weekends” which contributes to an increase in reckless driving.

“The car enthusiasts get together and unfortunately we start seeing lots of high speeds and some racing going on,” said RPD Sgt. Shawn Swanson. “It’s a very big safety concern.”

Swanson added the concern impacts more than just the person behind the wheel.

“It seems that it’s without concern for the innocent people that are just driving along minding their own business,” Swanson said. “Absolutely no concern for pedestrians, bicyclists, or anybody else that might be out.”

Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson agreed, noting that he’s seen more speeding lately on Tri-Cities highways.

“There’s just not a speed limit out there to have one. It’s for safety reasons,” Trooper Thorson said.  “Don’t be so selfish and think about yourself. You need to think of others as well because it’s really dangerous.”

RPD posted to Facebook on Tuesday warning drivers of several racing reports they’ve recently received.

 

Swanson said some of the most popular places people race are at the Yoke’s Fresh Market on Keene Rd., the Columbia Point Marina, and in the old Chuck E. Cheese parking lot.

“If you just have the need to go fast there’s a time and a place for it. There’s a local race track that you can go race legally in a secure environment and get your fix that way but the city streets certainly are not and we will not be accepting that one bit,” Swanson said.

RPD officers said if you are caught racing or driving recklessly, you could be arrested.

“If you get caught there’s going to be severe punishment. There’s going to be no leniency when it comes to State Patrol if you’re going to drive 30, 40 miles over the speed limit or in a reckless manner,” Trooper Thorson added.

The nearest race track is at the Tri-City Raceway in West Richland.

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