Hoons to face car crush law in crash wake
DAVID ROOD STATE POLITICAL REPORTER
January 23, 2010
REPEAT hoon drivers face having their cars crushed whoever wins this year's Victorian election, as the Opposition and State Government trade blows over who has the toughest anti-hoon policy
The political stoush comes as funerals continued for the victims of last weekend's horrific Mill Park car smash, which claimed five young lives.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu yesterday morning announced that, if elected, he would change hoon laws so third-time offenders forfeited their cars and had them crushed.
Transport Accident Minister Tim Holding accused the Opposition of rushing out an ''ill-conceived policy'', but also said the Government would sell or crush the cars of repeat hoons in an announcement made just hours after Mr Baillieu's.
Under the Opposition policy, first-time hoon drivers would have their cars impounded for 30 days rather than the existing 48 hours, and drivers would be required to undertake a safe driving course.
''At the moment a 48-hour penalty doesn't work. You can hoon offend on a Friday and pick up the car on a Monday,'' Mr Baillieu said.
Vehicles would be crushed only after a court order was received and if they were owned outright, not leased from a third party, Mr Baillieu said.
He said many young male drivers regarded hoon driving violations - which includes offences such as street racing, failure to have proper control of a vehicle and excessive speed - as a ''badge of honour''.
Almost 10,000 cars have been impounded under Victoria's hoon laws.
Under current laws police can apply to the courts following second or third hoon offences to have a car immobilised for three months or forfeited permanently.
Just three hours after the Opposition policy launch, Mr Holding revealed that the Government too would crush the vehicles of repeat offenders, under stricter circumstances.
But he denied the Government move was a reaction to the Opposition, accusing Mr Baillieu of seeking headlines through ''political opportunism'' in the wake of the Mill Park accident.
Mr Holding said the Government's changes to hoon laws would see a small number of cars crushed when there was clear ownership of the vehicle and illegal modifications had been made.
In most cases the cars of third-time offenders would be confiscated and sold, he said, and any proceeds would be used to help support the victims of road trauma.
About 300 mourners yesterday attended the funeral of 17-year-old Matt Lister, a victim of the Mill Park accident.
The funeral for the drunk driver involved in the accident, Steven Johnstone, and his half-brother Will Te-Whare was held earlier this week.