For years now, the Bureau of Land Management has allowed off-road races to be held on land that falls under its jurisdiction. There have always been critics alleging that the agency was blind to the dangerous conditions at many of these races, where throngs of spectators inch closer to the racing “tracks,” placing their lives at serious risk. Over the weekend, a deadly accident during the California 200 race in Lucerne Valley, proved these critics right. A racer lost control of his pickup truck after a jump, and rolled into a crowd of people nearby. Eight people lost their lives, and at least five were injured.
The accident has received national media attention, but the critics, who have long held that the BLM remains blind to the dangers in allowing these unregulated races on its land, have always been around. These critics have found a new voice since the accident. The BLM has admitted that it will now conduct a review of its current safety policies for permitted off-road races on land that falls under its jurisdiction. It is also considering a review of the accident.
It’s not just the BLM that’s come under sharp criticism since the accident. The promoter of the race, El Monte-based Mojave Desert Racing, has come under sharp fire for failing to ensure that spectators were standing at a safe distance away from the racing trucks. An accident like this could have been prevented if, as the company’s own requirements spell out, the spectators were standing at a distance of at least 100 feet away from the trucks. That didn’t happen, and the spectators were too close to all the racing, with lethal consequences.
The promoter also has a contract with the BLM, which requires that spectators be kept at a distance of at least 50 feet away from the trucks. It’s not just the failure of the promoter to follow these rules which Los Angeles truck accident lawyers will focus on, but also the failure of the agency to ensure that its rules were followed.