A “hoon” is defined as a person who deliberately drives a vehicle in a reckless or dangerous manner. Generally in order to provoke a reaction from onlookers. “Hooning” can include but not limited to speeding, burnouts, donuts, or screeching tyres.
In NSW, car hoon behaviour is the term given to anti-social and dangerous behaviour committed when driving a motor vehicle. This includes what we already listed as well as street racing and being involved in a police pursuit offence, and driving at least 45 km/h over. In response to public outcry, tough measures have been put in place to combat the conduct.
In July 2012 the police have been given the power to apply roadside sanctions where aggravated burnouts have been detected. Where a driver commits an aggravated burnout and is the registered operator of the offending vehicle, police have the power to confiscate the number plates at the roadside and impound the vehicle under section 239 and 242. The vehicle impoundment and plate confiscation is for a fixed three-month period. This in some circumstances can be for up to 6 months. Where a police officer instead of issuing a court attendance notice, issues an on-the-spot fine of $686. This also attracts 3 demerit points.
Burnout Offences: The Law
In NSW, burnout offences are prescribed under section 116 of the Road Transport Act 2013, with substantial penalties in place.
Section 116 makes clear that it is an offence to operate a motor vehicle on a road in such a manner so as to cause the vehicle to undergo sustained loss of traction by one or more of the driving wheels (or, in the case of a motor cycle, the driving wheel) of the vehicle.
The maximum court-imposed penalty for a burnout is a fine of $1,100.
An aggravated burnout offence includes:
- a driver’s associates willingly participating in, or urging others to participate in,
- photographing or filming to promote or
- organise the burnout activity
Drag racing, street racing, and speed racing and/or organising promoting or taking part in unapproved race on NSW roads.
Speed or street racing, has a maximum court-imposed fine is $3300 for a first offence. If you are caught hooning for a second time, you could be fined for up to $3300 and you could face up to 9 months in prison. The court may also add an additional 12-month licence disqualification if you’re convicted.
Drag racing behaviour includes:
- a race between 2 or more vehicles on a NSW road
- any speed trial of a vehicle on a NSW road
- any competitive trial designed to test the skill of any vehicle or driver on a NSW road
- organising, promoting or taking part in any of the above behaviour.
Penalties for hooning and street racing include:
- large fines
- demerit points
- loss of licence
- impoundment (taking away your vehicle or number plates)
The maximum court-imposed fine is $3,300 for a first offence and $3,300 and/or 9 months imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence. A 12-month automatic period of disqualification also applies following conviction for the offence. Some possible defences to this charge may include involuntary actions due to mental health or reflect action. Other defences may include an incorrect or mistaken identity of the driver, or duress or necessity.