Western Australian Police now have the power to impound a hoon’s vehicle for up to four weeks under tough new laws that come into effect today.
Police Minister John Kobelke today launched a television and print advertising campaign to coincide with the introduction of amendments to the State’s anti-hoon laws and reckless driving penalties.
Mr Kobelke said the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2008, which increased the period police may impound a vehicle involved in a hooning offence, was an important initiative in the Government’s crackdown on hoons and reckless driving.
“Since our anti-hoon laws were introduced in 2004, more than 2,800 drivers have been removed for acting recklessly on our roads for the safety of the public,” Mr Kobelke said.
“The latest statistics indicate that male drivers are the biggest offenders, with two-thirds of hoons being caught belonging to the 17 to 25-year-old age bracket.
“That is a worrying trend, especially as young people are over-represented in the State’s road toll.
“What may appear to be a brief moment of fun for some can lead to life-long and potentially fatal consequences.
“These new amendments to the Bill will strengthen the deterrent to those who continually flout the law and drive recklesslessly, endangering their own lives as well as the lives of innocent people.”
So far in 2008, 802 vehicles have been impounded for 48 hours. Under the new laws passed in June, the period for a first offence will increase from 48 hours to seven days.
For a second and subsequent offence, police may impound a vehicle for 28 days, with the opportunity of applying to the courts for a permanent confiscation of the vehicle.
Additionally, the possible court imposed fines for reckless driving will increase from $1,000 to $2,000 for a first offence, from $1,200 to $3,000 for a second offence and from $2,400 to $4,000 for any subsequent offence.
The Minister said the legislation had also expanded the definition of road rage circumstances so that events that occur on places other than a road, such as private property or carparks were included.
“When the State Government announced its intention to crack down on hoons in February, we stated that we were aiming for the legislation to come into effect by August and we have successfully met that target,” he said.
“Labor is tough on hoons and will make sure that hoons lose their cars for longer.”
In March this year, the State Government also introduced changes to penalties for speeding drivers, people not wearing seatbelts and driving while using hand-held mobile phones.
Minister's office - 9222 9211