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Car Hoons On Notice

Car Hoons On Notice – Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Bill back in Parliament

Waimakariri Labour Member of Parliament Clayton Cosgrove said today that car hoons throughout the country would now be put on notice given that Parliament’s Law & Order Select Committee had unanimously recommended that his Member’s Bill (now a Government Bill) be passed with a number of amendments.

The Bill, now titled the Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Bill, was reported back to the House by the Law & Order Select Committee today and Mr Cosgrove hopes that it may be possible to pass the Bill through all its remaining stages before Christmas.

“The Bill gives the potential for us to take back ownership of our streets and make them safe for our citizens. It is one of the fundamental purposes of Government to ensure safe passage for citizens on our streets and roads,” Mr Cosgrove said.

“Since I started working on the original Member’s Bill some two and a half years ago, tragically we have seen a number of fatalities, many assaults and considerable property damage throughout the country perpetrated by irresponsible people engaged in illegal street racing who have no respect for their communities or the police. This bill will now give police the power they need to crack down on hoons and illegal drag racers,” Mr Cosgrove said.

The bill, as reported back proposes:

the creation of the following offences aimed at street racers:

‘without reasonable excuse’ intentionally pouring, placing, or allowing to spill on a road any petrol, oil or diesel fuel, or any other substance likely to cause a vehicle to lose traction (this offence can be enforced through the courts by a fine up to $3000, or as a infringement notice, with a $600 fee)

‘without reasonable excuse’ operating a vehicle on a road in a manner that causes it to undergo sustained loss of traction (applying existing penalties for the ‘reckless operation of a motor vehicle’ under the Land Transport Act 1998)

3. Operating a vehicle in a race or unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration on a road (applying existing penalties for ‘reckless operation of a motor vehicle’ under the Land Transport Act 1998)

providing for vehicles involved in ‘unauthorised’ street racing to:

be impounded (at the discretion of the enforcement officer), at the roadside, for 28 days, and

on impoundment, be automatically placed ‘out of service’, requiring the owner to undertake a warrant of fitness check before the vehicle may be driven on the road again (this will force cars that have had illegal modifications of any kind to comply with the applicable legal standards)

owners of impounded vehicles will be able to appeal the impoundment on certain grounds, eg if the vehicle had been stolen.

activities, such as lawful competitive events which comply with the traffic laws, for instance those events organised by reputable car clubs are exempt under the provisions of the Bill.

furthermore, a Court may confiscate permanently the vehicle driven by the person committing the offence. If the person offends twice within 4 years, the Court must confiscate the vehicle (except in cases of extreme hardship).

“This activity is a nationwide problem and our communities have had enough. I have received support for the Bill from all sectors of the community, including a large number of mayors, notably Sir Barry Curtis in Manukau City where a shooting occurred earlier this year as factions of hoons were competing against each other in illegal drag racing,” Mr Cosgrove said.

“I hope that the Bill can be passed by Christmas, and to that end I will be meeting with the Leader of the House, Hon Dr Michael Cullen to see if we can move it up the legislative schedule, given that this Bill has the support of all parties across the House apart from the Greens.”

“My message to the hoons is that if you act like a lunatic on our roads and endanger lives and property, you are clearly not responsible enough to be in possession of a motor vehicle. I have stated before that I am not against having fun, but if people want to engage in this activity they should do it lawfully by joining their local car club and participating in this activity in a safe, regulated environment. The bottom line is that there have been too many deaths and tragic accidents due to illegal street racing and burnouts, and it has to stop,” Mr Cosgrove said.

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