October 2006

Young Peoples Legal Rights Centre

Inc No A0041616E

ABN 12 794 935 230


Tel 9611 2412 Fax 9620 3622 Email info@youthlaw.asn.au

At Frontyard, 19 King Street, Melbourne VIC 3000


The Victoria Police Major Collision Investigation Unit revealed that during the period of January 2003 to

November 2004, .hoon. driving was a contributing element to 41 serious crashes, in which 28 people

were killed. This prompted the Bracks government to introduce new laws to combat .hoon. driving in

an attempt to minimise the fatalities and trauma resulting from dangerous .hoon. driving acts.

The new laws target drivers who perform burnouts, doughnuts, drag racing, excessive speeding and

other such road offences. Amendments have been made to the Road Safety Act 1986 which gives

Victorian police the power to impound, immobilise or forfeit the vehicle driven by a person whom they

believe, on reasonable grounds, has committed a .hoon-related. offence. Penalties for repeat

offenders are more severe. .Anti-hooning. laws have been implemented in Tasmania, Western

Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. Although the legislation does vary between states, a

common punishment is the seizure of the offender’s car.

What is .hoon. driving?

.Hoon- related. offences are:

. Improper use of a motor vehicle, where

the driver has intentionally caused one

or more tyres to lose traction.

. Exceeding the speed limit by 45kmph or

more (or travelling at over 145 kmph in

a 110 kmph zone).

. Engaging in an unauthorised race or

speed trial on a road or spaces near a

road that are open to the public.

. Repeat incidents of driving whilst


The following will also be considered

.hoon-related. offences if they are

committed in circumstances involving the

improper use of a motor vehicle:

. dangerous driving;

. careless driving;

. failure to have proper control of the

vehicle; and

. causing the vehicle to make excessive

noise or smoke.

What are the consequences of .hoon. driving?

If you commit a .hoon-related. offence, the legislation permits authorities to impound, immobilise or

forfeit the vehicle involved, regardless of who owns it.

FIRST OFFENCE: Vehicle impounded or immobilised for 48 hours

If Victoria Police reasonably believes you have committed a .hoon-related. offence, the vehicle may be

seized through impoundment or immobilised on-site for 48 hours. Impoundment means that the car is

secured at premises under the authority of Victoria Police and Victorian courts. Immobilisation involves

wheel clamps being fitted so that the vehicle cannot be driven. For a first offence, police may

confiscate the vehicle on the spot or up to two days after the offence. Alternatively, they may serve a

notice of surrender up to 10 days after the offence demanding that the vehicle be surrendered at a


specified location. If not surrendered voluntarily, police may obtain a warrant from a court to search

and seize the vehicle from private property. If the 48 hour period ends on a Saturday, Sunday or public

holiday, the vehicle may remain impounded or immobilised until 9am on the next business day. It can

also stay impounded or immobilised until a person entitled to the vehicle pays all designated costs.

SECOND OFFENCE: Vehicle impounded for up to 3 months

If a court finds an individual guilty of their second .hoon-related. offence within three years, their

vehicle may be impounded for up to 3 months. This seizure needs to be ordered by the Court and

police must provide you with 28 days notice before they seek a Magistrate’s order to impound or

immobilise your vehicle for three months. The Magistrate must hear the views of all parties served with

such notice.

THIRD OFFENCE: Permanent forfeiture of vehicle

If an individual is charged with three .hoon-related. offences within a three year period, their vehicle

may be permanently forfeited by the Court. Permanent forfeiture means that State Government

authorities may take the vehicle, sell it and keep the proceeds. In this case, police must provide the

individual with 28 days notice before seeking such an order and the Magistrate must hear the views of

all parties served with such notice.

Can I get my car back before the impoundment or immobilisation period ends?

A vehicle may be released if:

. A Victoria Police senior officer (of or above the rank of Inspector) has reviewed the

circumstances of the offence and determines that there are not reasonable grounds for the

impoundment or immobilisation, or considers it reasonable or necessary to release the motor

vehicle. Any decision made by a police officer to take away a vehicle for .hoon. driving is

promptly reviewed by a senior officer.

. Victoria Police are satisfied the vehicle involved in the .hooning. offence is either stolen or

hired. A vehicle is deemed to be hired if it belongs to a fleet owned by a person or company

operating a short-term vehicle hire business. In such cases, the vehicle will be released as

soon as practicable to the registered operator or person entitled to possession. Victoria Police

may ask the Court to substitute the vehicle for one registered to the driver for the three month

impoundment or forfeiture order.

. A person severely affected by their car.s three month impoundment, immobilisation or

permanent forfeiture has successfully applied to a Magistrate to have the vehicle released on

grounds of exceptional hardship to themselves or somebody else.

. Victoria Police do not proceed with charges for the .hoon-related. offence or the driver has

been found not guilty of the .hoon-related. charge or offence for which their vehicle was

impounded, immobilised or forfeited. The driver must have their payment to recover the vehicle

reimbursed and where the vehicle is still impounded or immobilised, it must be released quickly

without any recovery cost to the driver or registered owner.

Further information

For further information about the amendments to the Road Safety Act 1986 concerning .hoon. driving,

visit http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/roadsafety.

If you are a young person in need of free legal advice, drop in and see us at Youthlaw, Monday to

Friday, 2pm to 5pm, 19 King Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Or for information by phone or email, contact: 9611 2412, info@youthlaw.asn.au.