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Making our streets safer: vehicle and number plate confiscation laws

10 December 2013
Laws introduced by the NSW Government to crack down on car hoons have been enormously successful with more than 100 cars impounded and 500 sets of number plates seized, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced.
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“Car hoons selfishly put the lives of others at risk when they drive recklessly on our streets,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“A driver who has shown a deliberate lack of regard for the safety of others needs to know they will lose their car or their ability to drive it for three months,” he said.

“Under the laws, if a person drives their car after their number plates have been seized their vehicle can be permanently confiscated.

“The message to lunatics who treat our streets like racetracks is simple – if you want to keep your car, slow down and obey the law.”

The sanctions apply to car hoons who are caught by police exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 km/h, those involved in a police pursuit and those caught committing hoon type offences such as an aggravated burn-out or participating in a street race.

The Deputy Police Commissioner (Specialist Operations), Catherine Burn, said the laws are having a big impact and are making our roads safer.

“Since they came into force in July last year 123 vehicles have been impounded and 513 sets of number plates have been seized for a three month period,” she said.

Under the laws, officers can immediately seize an offending driver’s vehicle and call for a tow truck to take it to a holding yard where it will be impounded for three months.

Officers also have the power to immediately remove an offending driver’s number plates at the roadside – and they won’t be returned for three months.

The Commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said that means the offender can no longer drive their vehicle, but it saves police waiting for a tow truck to arrive.

“It is then the offending driver’s responsibility to pay to have vehicle towed to another location where it may be legally parked.

“If they are stupid enough to drive the car during the three month suspension period, the vehicle can be permanently confiscated,” Mr Hartley said.

Mr Hartley said a driver who is caught doing the wrong thing will not only lose their car or number plates for three months – they could also have their licence immediately suspended, lose points from their licence and receive a heavy fine.

There have been a number of recent incidents which have resulted in three month vehicle confiscations;

  • 18 November 2013: Hume Highway at Goulburn. A 30 year old man was caught travelling at 204 km/h in a 110 km/h zone.
  • 9 November 2013: Hume Highway at Mundarlo. An 18 year old male P1 driver was caught travelling at 144 km/h in 110 km/h zone.
  • 3 November 2013: Kendal Street at Cowra. A 22 year old man was observed to be ‘fishtailing’ his car in an unsafe manner.
  • 18 October 2013. Camden Valley Way at Prestons. An 18 year old man caught driving in excess of 45 km/h over the speed limit.
  • 18 October 2013. Old Castlereagh Road at Castlereagh. A 22 year old man was caught doing an aggravated burnout.

“The Highway Patrol fleet now has more than 500 vehicles and an authorised strength of more than 1,300 officers.”

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