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Street and illegal Drag Racing Bill next week.

Clayton Cosgrove Media Statement
Member of Parliament for Waimakariri
Chairperson, Finance & Expenditure Select Committee

27 March 2003

Final journey of the Land Transport (Street and illegal Drag Racing) Amendment Bill expected next week.


Leader of the House, Dr Michael Cullen announced today that the Government intends to pass all stages of the Land Transport (Street and illegal Drag Racing) Amendment Bill through Parliament next week. The legislation was formerly a Member’s Bill drafted by Waimakariri Labour Member of Parliament Clayton Cosgrove and then adopted as a Government Bill.

Mr Cosgrove said today it was great news and car hoons throughout the country will be given the message to act lawfully on our roads or potentially face the confiscation and sale of their cars, when the proposed changes become law.

“The Bill gives the potential for us to take back ownership of our streets and make them safer 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.

Mr Cosgrove said, “There is plenty of support for the Bill across the House. The fact the Bill has been moved forward on the legislative agenda shows this Government is committed to improving safety in our communities.”

“Since I started working on the original Member’s Bill nearly three 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 proposes:

- the creation of the following offences aimed at street racers:

1. ‘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)

2. ‘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:

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

2. 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, last year, a shooting occurred as factions of hoons were competing against each other in illegal drag racing,” Mr Cosgrove said.


ENDS

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