SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The sound of shifting gears and acceleration is back in Sioux Falls.
It’s the sound of excessive speed and street racing.
Speeds of around 90 mph have been recorded in city streets, said Sam Clemens, the public information officer for the Sioux Falls Police.
“We’ve recorded speeds that are just way too fast,” Clemens said.
From Jan. 1 through April 30, police issued 38 citations for speeds of 26 mph or more over the speed limit, according to data provided by the police. Police issued 109 citations for speeds of 26 mph or more over the speed limit in 2022.
“It’s dangerous,” Clemens said of excessive speed and street racing.
While street racing and excessive speed happens throughout the city, Clemens said there are some areas with more frequent abuses.
“We see a lot on the outskirts of the city,” Clemens said. Veterans Parkway, 69th Street, south Minnesota, 57th Street, the Tea Ellis Road, and West 41st are some of the more popular areas for street racers and excessive speeders, Clemens said.
Catching those speeders and racers can be tough, Clemens said.
“It’s hard. The groups may be in one location and as soon as an officer shows up they go to another location,” Clemens said of catching the excessive speeders or racers.
Sometimes, there are groups of motorcycles or vehicles and in other incidents, it may be one or two vehicles that are speeding or racing.
“We’ve seen them before in groups…traveling together,” Clemens said. “I don’t know that they are organized.”
Data and research on street racing has been done in the U.S., Canada and Malaysia, for example, and it shows that young males, particularly teens and those up to 25 are the main demographic involved with street racing.
But, research is not widely developed. A report from the Arizona State University Center for Problem-Solving Policing even cited the lack of extensive published research.
“Normally you think of younger drivers those up into their (early) 20s,” Clemens said. “But it could be anybody of any age.”
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), male drivers in the 15-20 and 21-24 year age groups were the most likely to be speeding at the time of fatal crashes. Speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2021 which killed 12,330 people or an average of more than 33 people a day, according to the NSC.
Clemens said the city has had incidents of street racing and excessive speed that resulted in fatal crashes.
Street racing and excessive speed are not limited to spring, summer or early fall, which can be popular times for that type of driving. Speeds and racing can increase anytime the weather is nice and streets are clear, Clemens said.
Police issued 116 citations for speeds of 26 mph or more over the speed limit in 2021 and 109 in 2022.
The city can issue citations for drag racing on a highway. Twelve of those were issued in 2019 and 21 in 2022. Thirty-seven were issued in 2020.
“Looking at the last 10 years, it seems like there is more of it,” Clemens said of excessive speed and street racing.
Insurify did an analysis of violations reported to insurance companies and concluded that street racing was most popular in Wyoming and North Dakota when compared to other states.
The city does get grants for extra patrols that can focus on driving violations such as excessive speed and racing but often it’s a matter of being in the right spot at the right time, Clemens said. The extra patrols have been successful such as in November of 2022 when the police reported 130 citations for speeding and three citations for careless driving over one Friday and Saturday.
Clemens said police will continue to add extra patrols to focus on traffic violations that include excessive speed and street racing. It will also continue to respond to public complaints and reports.