Technology catches up with the hoons

ALMOST two cars a week were impounded around Knox between January and October last year as police used tougher laws to crack down on hoons.

Sergeant Dave Young of the Knox highway patrol said modern technology and stricter legislation was helping police nab drivers who were driving dangerously or taking part in risky behaviour.

Almost one third of the impounding offences were for driving while on a suspended or disqualified license, Sergeant Young said.

To fall into the hoon category for that offence, the driver must have had prior convictions for driving while suspended or disqualified since July 2006.

"By impounding their vehicle, it removes the ability for them to again just drive off," Sergeant Young said.

Twenty cars were impounded from drivers performing burn-outs, 17 were seized for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h and others were taken in for overloading and attempting to evade police. A total of 71 cars were impounded for 30 days.

Sergeant Young said more hoons were being caught because people were able to immediately contact the police when they saw events unfold.

"In the old days if you saw a hoon, you would have to drive for 20 minutes before being able to report them, but now with mobile phones, it's instantaneous."

If the witness was prepared to give a statement, police would investigate and prosecute.

Sergeant Young said police had some issues last year with an organised car club that meets regularly at Knox shopping centre.

"Through no fault of their own, the group began to attract younger blokes in older cars. And as they were coming and going, they would do burn-outs, speed up and down Burwood Highway and exhibit hoonish behaviour."

The highway patrol worked with the club to crack down on the hoons. Club members would even help police by recording number plates of misbehaving drivers.

He believed the stricter impoundment laws — introduced in 2011 — were improving road safety, particularly for younger drivers who could afford to modify their cars extensively.

"Some of them are quite affluent and the fines are not as good a deterrent, but taking their pride and joy has an impact. However, for some the message still isn't getting through.

"A lot of young people think they're invincible, but in a tonne and a half of metal, doing 80km/h, you go on a bit of grass, go sideways — the impact can be quite serious."

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