Opinion

Why I'm loving the crackdown on hooning

HOONS SQUEEZED: Police Minister Jack Dempsey looks at a crushed vehicle at the announcement of new legislation designed to give Queensland the toughest anti-hooning legislation in the country.
HOONS SQUEEZED: Police Minister Jack Dempsey looks at a crushed vehicle at the announcement of new legislation designed to give Queensland the toughest anti-hooning legislation in the country. Rob Williams

HURRAH for the new tough hooning laws.

Anything that deters morons from making their neighbours' life a misery is okay by me.

How many aeons have long-suffering citizens of Ipswich been complaining about these dregs that drag?

Decades, I can attest to that.

Having been kept awake many nights by the constant drone of revved-up wrecks as they roared around city streets, I'm totally in favour of any police crackdown on noise polluters.

Lapping may be a tradition or right of passage but it's not a worthy one we should uphold or condone.

Unless it's done in a place where it doesn't interfere with another person's right to a quiet life.

The Queensland Government's new laws regulating illegal street racing and hooning came into force on November 1.

They've been described as the "toughest anti-hoon laws in Australia".

The new laws increase the current impoundment period of 48 hours to seven or 90 days.

Type 1 offences at the outset - such as burn-outs, racing, speed trials, dangerous operation, careless driving, wilfully making unnecessary noise or smoke of a vehicle and evading police - will be met with an impoundment period of 90 days.

For a second offence, the culprit loses the car.

Type 2 offences include driving a vehicle while uninsured at the same time as unregistered, driving without a licence, driving with a high alcohol limit, exceeding the speed limit by more than 40kmh and not complying with vehicle and safety standards.

The first Type 2 offence is a pre-impoundment offence, while for a second offence the vehicle will be immobilised or impounded for seven days, then 90 days for the third offence and forfeited on any subsequent offence. There are grounds to appeal impoundment.

This figure will illustrate the scale of the problem in Queensland: last year, under the previous less harsh legislation, 10,382 vehicles were impounded.

"The new laws send a strong message to Queensland hoons that the Queensland community are fed up with dangerous hooning on public roads and want the brakes put on hooning offenders," regulators say.

Thank goodness that message has been delivered with enough clout to back it up. But some commentators consider new hooning laws a waste of time.

University research fellow Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, who works with young novice drivers in a bid to understand the psyche of hooning and irresponsible behaviour behind the wheel, said confiscating cars would not stop people breaking the law.

"The ones I've spoken to aren't hooning in their main cars. They're borrowing their girlfriend's, mate's or parents' cars, or they buy a bomb for $200," she said.

"That car is the one that's taken. We know with those instances, that's not punishing the person who's doing the behaviour. We need to look at punishing the driver."

In July 2010 in Ipswich, police announced a crackdown on hoons, targeting bad behaviour and dodgy cars.

This one-night onslaught on hooning netted 231 vehicles, with nine judged to have major defects.

Police booked two drink drivers and four disqualified drivers and issued five tickets for speeding and eight for other life-endangering offences.

"This operation is a result of ongoing public concern about hooning and the behaviour of drivers in the CBD on weekend nights," police said.

"Most hoons have modified their cars and statistically these vehicles are more likely to be involved in a crash.

"They need to be removed from the road for the owners' safety and the safety of all road users."

If any part of that argument has changed in three years, let me know.

 

Minute of our time not much to ask to remember those fallen heroes

EIGHT thousand Australians died on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during the First World War.

The horrors of that conflict have been well documented.

This is one soldier's brief account, written on May 14, 1915: "I am still alive but I can't tell you hardly how it is, for I have had some of the most marvellous escapes a fellow could have … amongst this slaughter and strife," Corporal R Antill recounted.

"I must honestly say I will be delighted when this war is over for it is simply terrible, for to see your pals shot down beside you and the roar of the big 15-inch naval guns, the shrieks of our own artillery and the clatter of the rifle fire is enough to drive a fellow mad."

Next Monday, November 11, marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914-18).

Each year Australians observe one minute's silence at 11am on that day, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

We should all take that 60 seconds out of our busy day, to honour those who fought and died for their country, its beliefs and its freedom.

And also to reflect on the conflicts that are still raging.

More than 416,000 Australians volunteered for service in the First World with 324,000 serving overseas. Sixty thousand never returned, including 45,000 who died on the Western Front in France and Belgium. Nurses as well as soldiers were among those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War to commemorate those who were killed in both world wars.

This year is the 95th anniversary of the armistice, and also the 20th anniversary of the reinterment of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory.

It's not much to ask that, wherever we are, we pause for just one minute at 11am on November 11 to remember all those who died in war and what they went through.

Topics:  editors picks opinion vonnie's view yvonne gardiner



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