Drivers who participate in dangerous activities on the local roads can expect to face harsh consequences with the State Government introducing the toughest hoon laws Victoria has ever seen.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “the new laws are aimed at sending a strong message that dangerous hoon driving will not be tolerated. I welcome the move – we can do without idiotic behaviour behind the wheel”.
“These new laws will send a clear message to hoon drivers that they will be taken off the road for longer under the Coalition Government’s new laws. We want to stop hoon driving in its tracks.
“This is about cracking down and sending the message that it won't be tolerated,” said Mr Bull.
The Government will also be introducing new laws to ban overloading of cars, where drivers carry more passengers than a car is designed to transport.
The impoundment and immobilisation laws have also been broadened to apply to other high risk offences such as repeat offences of unlicensed driving, drink driving and drug driving.
Under the changes, which come into effect from 1 July, the period of immediate impoundment or immobilisation of vehicles on detection of a ‘hoon’ offence will be extended to 30 days.
Other changes include the extension of the period, from three to six years, in which prior offences can be taken into account to determine if a vehicle impoundment offence is a second or subsequent offence.
“This legislation is about drivers taking responsibility for their actions and knowing that if they do the wrong thing, there is an immediate and substantial penalty,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said people caught hooning won’t just lose their cars for the current 48 hours - their cars will be impounded immediately for 30 days. Police have been impounding (for 48 hours) an average of 10 vehicles a day.
Hoons caught a second time face losing their car for up to three months. In cases of extreme speeding (70km/hour or more), they can lose their car altogether.
If drivers cannot pay the fines and all of the costs associated with impoundment, they must forfeit the vehicle to police, who can dispose of or crush the vehicle. Hoons must pay the substantial costs of towing, storage, plus fines of up $2,389 if caught driving over the speed limit by 45km/hour or more.
The new laws will also mean for the first time police will be authorised to carry out roadworthiness inspections on hoons’ impounded cars, issue defect notices (‘canaries’), stipulate conditions about the use of the vehicle or ban the use of the vehicle outright. This will ensure unsafe cars are not returned to the streets to threaten public safety in the future.
“These changes to vehicle impoundment legislation will save lives by taking dangerous drivers off the road,” said Mr Bull.