ORLANDO, Florida – Authorities say illegal street racing is a growing issue in Central Florida.
- Authorities cracking down on street racing
- Mech-Tech in Orlando promoting safer alternatives
- The school has a team that races on a track
Several weekends ago there were some clandestine races in the streets of Kissimmee.
"There's some videos on social media where you see somebody loses control of a motorcycle and almost runs over somebody," Osceola County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jacob Ruiz said. "Right there, you can see the dangers that this can cause."
This is why Mech-Tech Institute in Orlando asked both the Orange County and the Osceola County Sheriff's Offices to come out at talk about safety. The school's racing team is preparing for a big competition at the Orlando Speed World Dragway at the end of this month.
The team wants to advocate for safety when it comes to illegal street racing.
Isaias Rojas is part of Mech-Tech Institute. He is also a racer and the vice president of education. Rojas loves racing but also wants to make sure his car is well-maintained, so it runs smoothly during competitions.
"It's really amazing. Be behind those cars. The sound, the adrenaline," Rojas said.
But Rojas says he would never race off the track. Law enforcement told Spectrum News 13 they've seen a lot of street racing on Orange Avenue between the Orange and Osceola County line.
When we asked about incidences of racing and reckless driving, Osceola County noted there were 266 in 2016 and 312 in 2017.
"We just want people to do it safely," Ruiz said. "We don't want anyone hurt. So please, please take an example from this organization. We have a track in the Orlando area, we have a track in Seminole County. They are there for your entertainment and your use if this is your sport and your hobby."
Mech-Tech Institute has courses in automotive, diesel and racing mechanics, but safety is the number one lesson taught.
"If you crash 30 miles per hour you're dead," Mech-Tech Institute president Edwin Colon said. "People should understand that. It's kind of dumb to run in the street with no security. And it's smart to study racing, go to the track with knowledge, you save your life, you have your adrenaline. And you know what? You can make business."
Rojas hopes others will follow his lead and keep it to the racetrack.
"But in the streets even if you're going 60 miles, 80 miles," Rojas said. "You can get hurt or hurt somebody else and we have to take care of the safety and do it in the right place, in the right track."
If you want to watch some safe races, the competition at the Orlando Speed World Dragway will be held October 26-28.
Mech-Tech, a team with mainly Puerto Rican members, will be facing an Australian team.
Two years ago this race took place in Australia and Mech Tech won the championship.