There is nothing like an election campaign to get politicians into theatrical stunt mode. State elections often become bidding wars on crime and there is hardly a state in Australia where our politicians haven’t tried to demonstrate their toughness by advocating so-called “hoon” laws under which ratbag drivers have their cars confiscated and crushed.

Low kms, only one previous owner. Photo: Darren McNamara

Having spent much of my life living in a hoon haven suburb of inner-west Sydney, where boofheads in souped-up Skylines and WRXs would habitually fang it along Norton St, Sydney’s Lygon St equivalent, I have no personal issue with the concept of crushing cars. Save for the fact that the stupider and most reckless offenders aren’t sitting behind the wheel when their cars are flattened. Hoon driving is a genuine scourge in this country, not only is it obviously dangerous, it is also deeply irritating, and habitually tops the list of number-one concerns of law-abiding folks in Australian suburbia.

Nice though the idea of crushing their cars sounds, the only problem with it is that it also appears to be illegal. The Supreme Court ruled this month that mandatory legislated car crushing denies judges their right to discretion, and as such is unconstitutional.

Despite this ruling there are plenty of governments and councils which are still ploughing on with plans to bring in the toughest anti-hoon legislation the nation has ever seen. There is a proposal in Queensland whereby the cars of hoon drivers would be impounded for three months after the first serious offence. Any driver who reoffends within five years would have their car forfeited, to be sold or crushed.

The proposals have sparked the typical knee-jerk nonsense from car owners who seem to think that it is a human rights violation if they are told that they’re not allowed to do circle-work in their early model Commodore at 80kmh in a built-up area.

One car club has even suggested that if the hoon laws are introduced the Queensland Government (ie the taxpayers) should pay to create a special sanctuary where blokes who are a bit light on in the trouser department can get together to drop the clutch with impunity and get their jollies behind the wheel.

It’s an interesting and broad new definition of what the role of government is, and given Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has declared war on profligate public spending, it’s a call which will surely be met with the laughter it deserves.

Instead of persisting with these theatrical car-crushing laws, governments would do well to look instead at how the existing laws can be applied with great effect to combat ratty driving. One of the worst areas in Melbourne for hoon drivers is the western suburbs around Sunbury and Hume.

However, over the past couple of years, the police have been doing a good job within the existing laws of impounding vehicles which are driven by halfwits. In 2011 the number of vehicle impoundments increased by about 20 per cent to more than 4,140 compared, which is an increase of more than 1000 on the previous year.

The statistics tell an interesting but probably not surprising story, which goes to the broader criminality of people who drive like nongs. In addition to being charged with speeding offences and the improper use of a motor vehicle, many of these drivers are also driving while suspended or disqualified. As such impounding their cars seems like a great idea, especially if the relevant department is painfully slow at going through the paperwork to determine whether their silly cars can ever be un-impounded, if that is indeed a word.

There’s a role for education in all this, and the schools obviously do a pretty good job facilitating road safety lessons. It’s also harder in all Australian states to get your L-plates and your P-plates than it was, even though those younger (and male) drivers are massively over-represented in the crash and death statistics, for the simple reason that young blokes like to show off.

To that end the role of education could be amped up even more to tell young blokes that driving is not an extension of their masculinity. The controversial “little finger” advertisements in NSW – in which women wave their pinkie at young hoons, to suggest that they’re probably a bit under-endowed and are using their car to make up for it – have been targeted for causing road rage whereby people who mimic the gesture end up getting clocked over the head with a tyre iron. Whatever the case the sentiment behind the ads is a valid one.

The thing which always puzzles me about this behaviour is that it reflects a pathetic desire to be the centre of attention. The noise aspect of hoon driving is its most irritating feature, not unlike bikers who remove their mufflers so their hog deafens the innocent as it pulls up at the lights.

One idea which is totally unfeasible but nevertheless appealling would be to modify every jacked-up WRX and every massive Harley so that when the turbo kicks in or you pull back the throttle, the engine automatically plays Greensleeves or possibly Yakketty Sax from the Benny Hill show, just to highlight the genuine ridiculousness of those who think there is something manly about driving loudly, and stupidly, and driving everyone else mad.

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    • FlyOnTheWall says:

      05:52am | 30/10/12

      You know, Penbo, that all vehicles are limited in the noise they can generate. If a loud car or bike is found to be too loud (police can check it), then it gets a defect notice.
      Just because every vehicle isn’t deathly silent like a pious, doesn’t mean it’s illegal, either.

      I think crushing hoon’s cars is stupid symbolism. I also struggle to understand how it can be legislated that one must forfeit property (except of course cash) for committing a crime. A natural extension of that would be say, anyone found to be growing weed in their mum’s backyard, their parent(s) would then forfeit their property. If the kid’s do doughnuts in mum’s commodore, the car can be impounded, why would a house be sacrosanct?

      Sure Hoon driving is a problem, I used to live in Sydney’s south west, plenty of hoon driving out there. I may have even been considered slightly hoonish back in the day, but I don’t worry too much about them if they stick to industrial areas late at night where they’re only endangering themselves.

      I DO worry about the morons who drive down my street for example, we have a primary school down the road accessible from my street. The typical profile is mum running late to drop kids off at school, or someone late for work… imagine a quite small, suburban street, cars parked on either side of the road so that only one car can fit - right up the middle. 50km/h is too fast for this street, but still legal. Kids walking to school, playing whatever… and every single day I see people doing up near 70km/h right past my house. I have three young children - these are the drivers I worry about, and having their car impounded or crushed will be the least of their worries if they ever cause issues for my kids…

    • fml says:

      07:31am | 30/10/12

      If someone owns a gun legally and they commit a robbery. Do we not take away their gun license? do we then give back the gun because it is their property?

    • Gregg says:

      07:41am | 30/10/12

      I reckon just like the legislation for noise you’ll find that forfeiture of property is already legislated and the very reason why with a court order against unpaid fines or damages you can have the sheriff decide if you have anything of value and yes we do have sheriffs in this country just like in the westerns.
      Though there may be a limit re houses, that’ll not stop a council being able to sell off properties for unpaid rates, perhaps usually vacant land but you might also find that they can register an interest in the property, such that if it is ever to be sold by the owner, anything owing including interest will be deducted from what the proceeds of the sale may be.

    • morrgo says:

      09:58am | 30/10/12

      If only vehicles were limited in their noise generation and noisy ones given defect notices.  We could post a cop at the wharf where Harleys are unloaded and pin a notice on every one even before registration.

    • Peter Yo says:

      10:26am | 30/10/12

      @FML To my understanding, one requires a gun license to own a gun.
      One does not require a license to own a car.
      Taking away someones gun license, by law, also takes away their right to said gun.
      Taking away someones license does not mean that a persons car should be taken away. Only their right to drive said car.

    • Sid Spart says:

      10:34am | 30/10/12

      Youth drivers are a soft target for middle class holier-than-though banners.

      How about taking away the businesses of the middle class enterprises or confiscate the expenses of middle class pollies who do equally annoying things or even better crush the SUV’s of mums who park illegaly at schools

      Lets also dispose of the court system and let middle ranked bureaucrats be the new judge and jury.

    • Weary says:

      12:22pm | 30/10/12

      Dude, somebody should confiscate and crush your keyboard.

    • acotrel says:

      01:18pm | 30/10/12

      All these draconian laws do, is destroy our quality of life. Coercion only breeds resistance and subversion. It would be too much like hard work to encourage excellence in driving by promoting the interests of car clubs and the owners of motor race circuits?  There is a time and a place for hoon driving - it can be done under controlled conditions to the enjoyment of everyone.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      01:58pm | 30/10/12

      I’d have to agree that, more dangerous than any other driver on the road, including ‘hoons’, are mums in SUV’s and slow, incompetant and hesitant drivers. At least the hoons have some skill at driving.

    • Mark990 says:

      04:17pm | 30/10/12

      Acotrel! The first post I have ever seen from you that makes absolute sense and doesn’t blame Abbott!

      You are totally right, this is just another case of governments going over the top as usual. There are road rules in place for speeding, negligent driving, drink driving etc… Let the courts do their job of punishing offenders and governments should actually focus on their primary role of managing our tax money to deliver some services for once!!!

    • Bertrand says:

      06:22am | 30/10/12

      Why not putting speed limiters on cars that get impounded on the first offense? It’s a similar idea to putting a breathalyser lock on the cars of people who get done for DUI…. remove the ability of the numpty to break the law. Attempts to circumvent the limiters would lead to car crushing and a huge fine.

    • nihonin says:

      06:40am | 30/10/12

      +1 for this comment.

    • Gregg says:

      07:45am | 30/10/12

      First, you need to have a speed limiter that is practical for all situations and a 100 kmh speed limiter for instance is not necessarily going to stop burnouts.
      I’d say limit their speed by having them buy a bicycle and then that could be +1 for wet pants nihonin.

    • maria says:

      08:14am | 30/10/12

      Why not stopping crushing democracy?

      Why not putting lies and frauds limiters?

      Attempts to circumvent the lies &frauds; limiters would lead the servants of the people crushing and a huge fine.

    • andrew says:

      08:15am | 30/10/12

      Is a speed limiter GPS linked? so does it limit you to 50 in a 50 zone, or just 110 everywhere? If all it did was limit you to 110 it seems pretty useless.

    • ZSRenn says:

      09:06am | 30/10/12

      Better still Berty why not limit drivers under 25 to 1200cc cars. Sure they can still get up to speed but who is going to bother in a Suzuki mini van.

      Let’s Nanny State up the place so even the 99% of drivers who do obey the law suffer!

    • Trevor says:

      09:41am | 30/10/12

      A rev limiter would be better I reckon

    • Bertrand says:

      10:51am | 30/10/12

      Some valid points about not stopping hoons in lower speed areas…. not sure if the technology exists to link the limiter to a GPS?

      ZSRenn - not sure how you are linking my comments to nanny-statism that punishes the whole for the crimes of the few. The only people who would be punished are those caught seriously breaking the law and driving in a criminally negligent manner.

    • subotic's with stoopid says:

      11:17am | 30/10/12

      Why not putting stupidity limiters on people whose cars get impounded on the first offense?

      Attempts to circumvent the limiters would lead to electrocution and a huge fine.

      Yea, I know, wishful thinking….

    • acotrel says:

      01:26pm | 30/10/12

      What we need is a speed limitter for drivers under age 40, which senses when an offence has been committed and automatically sends an infringement notice. It could also have sensors under the back seat which detect attempts at illegal procreation. Those young bastards have got it too good !

    • nihonin says:

      01:40pm | 30/10/12

      Aww Gregg, you still smarting after my comment, maybe you shouldn’t go round calling people dick, if you cant take it back. ‘snookums’

    • Ben says:

      03:49pm | 30/10/12

      Because if there was a speed limiter on the car, the driver could not speed (and thus would break no laws). 

      So why are we impounding their cars again?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      06:29am | 30/10/12

      I could not agree more. The risk to safety which these cognitively (and obviously physically)- challenged drivers pose is obvious. But you are correct about the noise. What is so baffling is that, in the course of NORMAL human growth and development, the fascination for exploring just how much noise one can make and revelling in it generally occurs in the pre-toddler phase and doesn’t last long.
      But, seriously,  noise levels from all vehicles need to be taken more seriously.  In NSW,  as I understand it, there are only two facilities set up for such assessments. Clearly, there need to be more and better ways to monitor and police noise from these idiot drivers. But there are very complicated rules about the permissible levels of noise allowed with motorbikes, depending on the make and year of the vehicle. All (deliberately, I imagine) designed to frustrate any real control of a very real problem.

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:49am | 30/10/12

      I’ve never understood why the fine is not the car.  We can fine people cash, so fine them their car instead.

      First strike, fine and a warning.  Second strike, lose your licence for x months.  Third strike, lice for 2x months and you pay with your car. If you don’t have a car, then the Red Book value of the car you were driving at the time.

      I see nothing wrong with appropriate punishment for this type of crime.  Nobody with the ability to drive a car at all is concurrently unable to understand that hooning is wrong.

    • Michael says:

      07:03am | 30/10/12

      The idea of crushing rev heads cars is one of the most pathetic things i have ever heard. I believe it started in NSW with some strutting dill of a Labor minister wanting some easy headlines. If someone is repeatedly dangerous on the road ,confiscate their car by all means, but at least sell or give it or raffle i or whatever to a law abiding ‘‘battler’’ in need of wheels.By the way hoon used to mean living off the earnings of a prostitute.

    • Michael says:

      07:29am | 30/10/12

      The crush is better in my opinion as it prevents hoon’s friends/family from buying his/her car and giving it back to the hoon.
      The strutting dill was a government dill, the party is irrelevant to your post.

    • sami says:

      03:00pm | 30/10/12

      @Michael (the second one) you can buy a car anywhere… there is no shortage. Crushing it achieves nothing. If the hoon car is worth $80k isn’t it better to flog it at auction than just crush it and get $100 for it from a scrap metal buyer?

    • bananabender56 says:

      07:21am | 30/10/12

      No excuse for dangerous driving but how about spending more money on driver education and organised ‘track days’ where kids can go and do doughnuts etc in a more controlled environment? Sort of like getting the skateboarders out of the shopping mall and into a skate park.

    • fml says:

      07:33am | 30/10/12

      Probably because the insurance would be enormous. The first crash would follow with a law case and then it will be banned altogether. Even these places would have rules and regulations and the kids will go elsewhere for the things they cannot do.

    • andrew says:

      08:19am | 30/10/12

      problem is if the government sanctioned “burnout days” once a year it would be more expensive than car registration once all the relevant insurance, regulations, OHS and crowd control etc was taken care of.

    • tez says:

      08:32am | 30/10/12

      That would be way too sensible but sounds like a mind field as far as insurance goes.

    • Big Jay says:

      01:36pm | 30/10/12

      Agree with all above - Commonsense would suggest this is what “should” happen, but insurance and legalities (liability) would get in the way.

      Having said that, they do have amateur drag races, and burnout comps at Summernats, so it just a matter of wider availabilty.

      The other issue is COST, given the govt track record if the hoons have to pay for it (and it wouldnt be cheap) they won’t use it and keep doing it illegally.

    • sirko says:

      03:45pm | 30/10/12

      Have any of you ever been to a race track and participated? First step is, you pay your entry fee, second step sign an indemnity waiver, third step the car goes through scrutineering to deem its safety, last step you go have fun and enjoy the limits of the vehicle. Why in gods earth are race tracks not subsidised by the state governments!? All of the revenue from defect notices, fines, et al from the so called “hoon” epidemic should go back to CORRECTING the problem and one method to correct it is to create a venue exactly as pointed out above (a Skate park for kids to get them away from shopping centres).

      If pollies were serious about getting morons off the street (including the soccer mums running late to drop little Johnny off at school in their BMX X5’s), then it needs to be fairly policed and fair penalties issues but also as above, appropriate alternatives would be made available.

      Why fix problems when you can just talk about them. It’s much easier.

    • fml says:

      07:31am | 30/10/12

      Answer is simple. Don’t hoon.

    • firefly says:

      05:36pm | 30/10/12

      fml, we dont agree often, but in this you are spot on Well said smile

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      07:42am | 30/10/12

      It also seems obvious that there is a gap in the education and licensing of young drivers. MOST (but certainly not all) of the ‘car enthusiasts’ who speed and have extremely noisy vehicles suffering from an attention deficit are “P” or “L” platers.
      As for the older, dare I say mostly male, drivers who hoon up and down the street in arguably excessively noisy bikes or cars, and sometimes absurdly expensive sports cars (and trying to cover up for all manner of personal deficits)  A penalty/fine certainly isn’t going to make any impression on the their big budgets of someone who can afford a Maserati. Nothing more than an inconvenience to them.

    • iansand says:

      07:46am | 30/10/12

      What have you done with last week’s David Penberthy, who was ranting about judicial softness?  Or is a prerequisite to be a tabloid editor the ability not only to hold two competring opinions at once but to not even realise that they are contradictory?

    • Iron Chef says:

      03:27pm | 30/10/12

      My thoughts exactly. As for you, DP - et tu, Brute?

    • ibast says:

      07:58am | 30/10/12

      I totally disagree with Hoon laws.  Ultimately they rely on the opinion of a Police officer and that is a corruption of our three teared justice system.  If someone commits an offense, then they should be charge/fined with that offense, not some opinion based charge that they weren’t being nice.  And that is usually in addition to the original offense.  So it’s double dipping anyway, which is contrary to the intent of our legal system.

      Another thing that many people don’t’ realise about Hoon laws, in that in some states they are not traffic offenses, but criminal offenses.  This means they go on your criminal record.  This can affect all sorts of things in your life, life getting a medical degree, getting credit or even insurance.  All for an offense that is based on the opinion of a mid-level public servant, that barely passed high school, and has a major ego complex.

      In some states they can even forcible take a DNA sample with a Hoon law charge.  WTF?  For screeching the tyres you can be violated by the state.

      OK let me give an example of how stupid the Hoon laws can be.

      I ride a motorcycle to work.  I’ve got a familty and don’t take many risks.  I just steadily make my way through the traffic.  By their nature motorcycles accelerate faster than cars and in traffic that is actually a safety feature.  Yet if a cop sees me doing it, he can have me charge under the Hoon laws.  And believe me there are definitely cops out there they just don’t like motorcyclist.  Biased and opinionated Police is one of the reasons we have separation of powers in our legal system

      Hoon laws are very bad and bordering on unconstitutional.  They are a knee jerk law designed to appease people that worship the shock jocks.  Popular politics at it’s best again.

    • Sam says:

      10:57am | 30/10/12

      Whilst I probably dont agree with every word you said, I agree that it is a massive flaw in the Hoon law that it is left to the discression of the policeman.  Lift your foot off the clutch too fast and spin the wheels by accident these daysand you could end up with a criminal record.  Cops should be made have video evidence.  These days I dont think that is too much to ask.

    • Mark990 says:

      04:29pm | 30/10/12

      Great response ibast. Love the “people that worship the shock jocks” analogy! You are so right though, the cops in Sydney cannot be trusted as like everything else they are just part of the “business of Sydney” where generating income takes precedence over common sense or leniency.

      I am all for idea’s that stop the death toll of young drivers on the road, but hoon laws are not the way to go about it.

      Nice post mate. I’ll see you at the front of the lights wink

    • Gregg says:

      08:03am | 30/10/12

      I love it David
      ” Save for the fact that the stupider and most reckless offenders aren’t sitting behind the wheel when their cars are flattened. “

      Is your recent angst because of another who carries your name hiccup hint and you would have him in there as a passenger too perhaps!

      I’ve got no problem whatsoever with
      ” Hoon driving is a genuine scourge in this country, not only is it obviously dangerous, it is also deeply irritating, and habitually tops the list of number-one concerns of law-abiding folks in Australian suburbia. “

      ” Nice though the idea of crushing their cars sounds, the only problem with it is that it also appears to be illegal. The Supreme Court ruled this month that mandatory legislated car crushing denies judges their right to discretion, and as such is unconstitutional. “
      Are the Supreme Court justices not getting a little full of themselves for I would have thought that judges have the role of using discretion in sentencing when the law allows that and we do see plenty of situations where the public is apalled at sentences handed down.
      We do vote for legislators, that’s our politicians to bring in legislation not the judges who like us should just have to abide by whatever laws we have legislated.

      That said, surely there are more profitable penalties than crushing and what I’d be doing is a number of things:
      1. Wrecker yards able to tender for vehicles for solely dismantling for parts and/or partial dismantling to shell and drive line for hooner demolition derby days.

      2. I reckon it’d not only be a real hoot but you might also find it a great revenue stream for both speedway clubs and the government for there could be regular derbies when hoons vehicles were to be thrashed until they were stuffed.
      Not only have admission charges but driving stint tickets and even team events etc. as well as hooners in cages around the circuit to be pelted with mud and rotten tomatoes etc.
      It’d be a great fun day and proceeds split between cluns and government revenue.

      3. When the hooners pride and joy was a shambles that could go no more, they would then have to do the dismantling and making it environmentally friendly for crushing and even have to press the button.

      Fun and winning for all with the exception of hooners.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:08am | 30/10/12

      please tell me why it is a stupid idea for an area such as a track to be set up for vehicle enthusiasts to let their hair done, you know, away from the easily offended public such as yourself who makes stupid comments like they must be “a bit light in the trouser department”

    • Gregg says:

      09:49am | 30/10/12

      Fiddler, why should we set tracks up when already there are car clubs that enthusiasts can join to do all manner of competitive auto activities and you might even find if they want to create special hooner clubs and have the appropriate insurances etc. there would be circuits available for hire and so no reason whatsoever to go creating new stuff.

    • Michael says:

      10:08am | 30/10/12

      Racing around in cars is not a right, not a provision of our society, not to be paid for with public funds or done on public assets.

      It’s a personal and private desire and ought to be conducted as such, in private with private funds on private assets, with private health insurance and liability cover.

    • Big Jay says:

      12:48pm | 30/10/12

      Agree with Fiddler.

      @Michael - Would you care to point to the document thats says its our right to run around on grass and kick balls? I presume that is reason “govt” provides parks with public money the full cost of which is not charged to sports clubs that used them?

    • Angry God of Townsville says:

      02:08pm | 30/10/12

      Why should I or anyone else pay for their habit. They cannot be that light in the pocket as they have already purchased and modded their vehicle. They can afford to go to the private tracks or to the drag strips, they just do not want to because they prefer to be absolute wankers in front of their equally stupid mates and frequently pregnant girlfriends.

    • Iron Chef says:

      03:29pm | 30/10/12

      Angry God, I take it you’re not big on boat people either, huh?

    • Lezza says:

      08:17am | 30/10/12

      Each early evening, regular as clockwork, an on-his-way-home hoon puts on a spectacular performance on a corner near my residence.
      Heaps of power, screaming tyres and all very untidy.
      On one occasion, he dropped wheels off the bitumen, got terribly out of shape and just missed a tree and a big accident.
      What’s interesting is that if the individual was interested in driving cleanly and exhibiting some skill at the wheel, he could zip through the corner a lot faster.
      It’s all about showbiz.
      What I find fascinating is that – remember this has been going on for months – no-one seems to be complaining to the cops, and if they have been alerted,  they’re showing no interest.
      It would take a nanosecond of intellectual effort to catch this drip who will probably eventually kill himself or someone else.
      The lack of action says something about public attitudes to wayward youth in my town and someone will invariably ask why I am not on the phone myself
      Good point.
      I was a shocking hoon in my youth, although we played up well out of sight because the cops were fierce on malcontents.
      In my day, having a loud exhaust or – shock, horror – wide wheels attracted the attention of a very large sergeant who had enormous boots and a very wide right hand.
      Anyone who stepped into the unknown and indulged in burn-outs and drag racing on public streets risked a one-sided chat with the local magistrate who held very conservatives views about this sort of thing.
      I guess I’ve convinced myself that it would be hypocritical of me to whinge to the cops and I wonder how many people feel the same in regard to aspects of their own youthful waywardness.
      Rather silly of me I know, but I’m working on it.

    • Big Jay says:

      08:22am | 30/10/12

      This country is being engulfed by wowserism. Instead of harm minimisation we look for banning and punishment (preferably the financial kind).

      “Hoon driving is a genuine scourge in this country”...Seriously??? If this ranks as a serious problem in your life, then you have it pretty good!

      “One car club has even suggested that if the hoon laws are introduced the Queensland Government (ie the taxpayers) should pay to create a special sanctuary…” This has been written as if the idea is completely absurd. It’s a reasonable idea, as far as I know this can’t be done even with private money (insurance might be prohibitive). The govt might not be able to pay for it, but it should facilitate its existence in whatever way it can.

      The demand is there!! If they can’t do it legally they will do it illegally, exactly like illicit drugs.

      I’m not a particularly young man, nor am I wild or exciting but the crackdown on anything remotely entertaining (ie. live music, binge drinking, dirty/racist jokes, party drugs) is getting to me, what kind of boring place do we want to live in? what kind of entertainment for young men does the govt actually support?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      12:17pm | 30/10/12

      Well, there ARE other forms of entertainment than those involving such a big impact on others with extreme noise and loss of sleep, on a regular basis for many. And then there are the other impacts on society. “party drugs” are not necessarily some harmless, casual thing. They happen to be illegal as best I know. And the fallout? Paid by society just like all the idiot drunks who end up in casualties every weekend. I think it is about realising that one is not the only one in the world and in any society behavioural choices can impact on others.  Why, for example, should someone’s sleep be disturbed every weekend night by a bunch of idiots who can’t think outside the square and find anything else “ENTERTAINING” if it isn’t extreme alcohol, drugs and noisy music? The rest of the world should just ‘live and let live’, eh? That is you “LIV E” and we just put up with it. Get a grip on reality @Big Jay. Personally if something I was doing was disturbing the surrounding nieghbourhood or the entire community, say in Kings Cross, I would be concerned.

    • Tim says:

      12:18pm | 30/10/12

      I don’t know, I want to live in a place where I’m not at risk of being run down by an out-of-control hoon when I cross the road.

    • Big Jay says:

      02:23pm | 30/10/12

      @Tell - For the record, it’s not me, I don’t do any of those things, nor do anything that disturbs other people in the community. My point is we keep banning things, and try to eliminate PERCEIVED risk and it’s a dangerous path (you know “the path to hell is paved in good intentions”).

      Some points;
      - Of course party drugs are illegal, and of course they do a lot of damage, but the demand is there, so it happens. We could probably reduce the damage if people knew what was in those drugs and how take it correctly, same as if there was a legal place to drive fast/rev cars and do burnouts.

      - If people do change their entertainment habits, this produces issues too. I ‘ve had two operations on the public dollar cause of rugby injuries,how long before people want that banned (regardless of the tax I pay)? You’ve heard complaints about the popularity of computer games and online porn?

      - I think the fact that a young man can’t complete a degree or trade then by a house (within a couple of years) has lead to more of them acting up.

      What should men (or both genders) be doing on fri/sat nights?

    • andye says:

      08:41am | 30/10/12

      “they are told that they’re not allowed to do circle-work in their early model Commodore at 80kmh in a built-up area.”

      Many years ago I rented in a suburb where the very wealthy and the quite average mingled. There was a club near my bedroom window that was open late on weekends and seems to cater to a local rich kid crowd. The cars might have been BMW, Mercedes and Audi, but they still would woop and yell and do burnouts in the nearby carpark, especially at closing time.

      I doubt such laws would be applied to these kids. I think the unspoken part of what the article discusses is that this is a very classist approach and we all know in our heads the “kinds of people” that this law targets. In fact I bet you could assign likely ethnic stereotypes if I just gave you a make of car. WRX? Holden Commodore? I bet you can picture the kinds of people in your head that might drive those cars in a hoon way.

      This is another politicised way of harnessing our biases and bigotry.

    • subotic. now in FM stereo says:

      11:19am | 30/10/12

      But it’s amazingly funny just how many stereotypes…. FIT.

    • TimB says:

      11:38am | 30/10/12

      Did Andye just play the racism card?


    • subotic says:

      12:17pm | 30/10/12

      Racism AND discrimination card all in the one comment.

      About hoons.


    • andye says:

      12:57pm | 30/10/12

      @TimB - Bogans are one of the groups I was talking about. Another stereotype might be a Leb in a WTX, but I am not making this about racism. It is more a classist thing. Such laws will not be used to police anything other than certain areas and people.

    • TimB says:

      03:09pm | 30/10/12

      “Another stereotype might be a Leb in a WTX, but I am not making this about racism. It is more a classist thing.”

      Yes you are.

      “In fact I bet you could assign likely ethnic stereotypes if I just gave you a make of car.”

      It’s not about targeting any paticular kind of people (class, race, whoever you want to complain is being unfairly targeted), it’s about targeting behaviours.

    • andye says:

      03:57pm | 30/10/12

      @TimB - “Yes you are.”

      Race might be a defining factor in some of those stereotypes, but essentially when we imagine who these laws would be used against, it is certain groups that people associate with being undesirable that pop into everyone’s heads.

      Those images and those stereotypes then affect the support such a move might have, even if the ostensible reasons are more robust. In fact, by targeting unpopular groups in such a way a politician can get some good mileage.

      I am making a more complicated point here than calling out “racism!”

      @TimB - “It’s not about targeting any paticular kind of people (class, race, whoever you want to complain is being unfairly targeted), it’s about targeting behaviours.”

      Ostensibly, yes. In reality, however, people in certain groups will have the laws applied at the minimum excuse while other groups will not.

      Gazza The Mulleted Bogan Revhead and Gary The Wealthy Son could well be both caught in exactly the same circumstances, yet they are likely to be treated differently. In certain suburbs the police would be looking around for people to charge with being a hoon, whilst it is unlikely to be in their arsenal in other suburbs even if someone is caught hooning.

      The arguments I see seem to constantly revolve around or loop back to stereotypes of the hoons. If it is all about behavior, why all that? Why frame the debate around anger and the very people you say it is not about?

      Article: “Save for the fact that the stupider and most reckless offenders aren’t sitting behind the wheel when their cars are flattened.”

      I am not saying it is a terrible idea or I am against it. I’m not really decided. I am not going to pretend that such laws are applied evenly and fairly, though. Police discretion is where a big part of the difference lies.Through this, certain groups are more harshly targeted.

    • Ross says:

      08:58am | 30/10/12

      So Penbo motor sports are different to othersports? Why should the government or taxpayers pay for new sporting facilities for soccer, cricket and footy but not race tracks so that people that do enjoy their motorsports can do it in a safe and legal environment?

      If the facilities were available and easily accessable then you would find less of this happening on public roads than wat you currently experience.

      But dont think too far ahead and actually propose a solution that might help other people you just keep crying about a car thats too loud.

    • Gordon says:

      09:02am | 30/10/12

      Opportunity here for some farmer to rent out a paddock to a bunch of enterprising hoontepreneurs.

    • Gerry W says:

      09:03am | 30/10/12

      The EPA and Police and Councils could do a lot more. EPA takes 2-3 mths to send out a notice on noisy vehicles. Then the owner temporarily fixes the noise then goes to a testing station passes the test then a day or two later it is modified back to the original noisy state. More people need to report Hoons and noisy vehicles then more would be taken off the street.

    • JB says:

      12:32pm | 30/10/12

      Then they get 2 strikes for modifying the car back to what is was before and on the third the car is impounded for 3 months. On the next offence the car is crushed!
      Can’t get fairer than that.
      Similarly if you get done for a DUI your car should be impounded for 2 weeks first offence and then it will double for each offence.
      4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, 32 weeks then it is crushed!!!!!!
      Maybe we apply that system to hooning too!!
      Roads are for getting from A to B, not your personal race track!

    • bolts says:

      09:24am | 30/10/12

      so the amoun of impounded cars ncreased by around 20%. how you ourport this to be proof of effective reduction in dangeous diving is beyond me. if the goverment changed the rules drinking age from 18 to 17 you would see an increase in charges for underage drinking. this in itself holds no facts or proof of anything other than goalposts being shifted. also circle work at 80km an hour? what histerical rubbish. not possible. as a car enthuasiast with no traffic fines or history ever i am so sick of this witch hunt. wankers in vs stock commos are a problem. my one of a kind import that speeds on the track only is in direct threat here as the hoon laws are at the officers discretion. they think your hooning? well by law then you are. i know of many enthuastiasts with confiscated cars for the likes of locking up while braking to avoid a crash and accelerating to quick….wtf? how can you prove or mandate junk like that?

    • Chris S says:

      10:09am | 30/10/12

      OK lots of very passionate and uninformed comments. I know I can’t change your minds, but I’d like to introduce some logic and fairness to this page in the interests of balance.

      1) Motor sport, and the performance of motor vehicles in a racing context is the basis for vehicle marketing; and a focal point for masculine Australian culture. Peter Brock, Dick Johnson - are household names because performance sold cars for a very long time. The value of our auto and accessory industries are also performance-tier based, employ thousands of Australians, and are worth billions to our economy.
      Whether you like it or not: racing cars is cool, and to pretend otherwise is to fly in the face of 30 years of marketing, sports history, mentors and heroes to Australian children everywhere who know freedom starts at 17 when you get your P’s (because public transport sucks wherever it is affordable to live).

      2) Ownership of property is a vital concept that underpins the value and success of our economy. To allow the state to confiscate property based on arbitrary punishments for paper crimes (where no person or corporation is injured, damaged or owed compensation in any way) is exceedingly dangerous, especially where politicians financial interests may overlap with construction and development projects - the scope for benefiting from corruption is untenable.
      The incompetence of the state will also see miscarriages of this brand of ‘justice’ ie. the Perth doctor who had his car impounded because his MECHANIC was caught ‘hooning’ in it.
      Automobiles represent a significant investment, can become an appreciable asset, and in some areas are a basic necessity. Blanket legislation that removes discretion without costly court proceedings and can find someone without their vehicle is profoundly wrong.

      3) Hooning will mean anything soon.
      Hooning used to be driving erratically. Then it became any breaking of traction. It now includes certain speeding offences. To introduce a severe, far-reaching and imperfect punishment for a crime who’s scope is consistently extended beyond the original intent is to invite gross injustice upon ourselves.
      When hooning also means touching your mobile phone, or eating a sandwich while driving, will you be happy to watch your Camry go to the crusher?

      4) The road toll only ever improves as passive vehicle safety technology improves. The government claims it’s all because of speeding cameras and new punishments and ‘zero tolerance’ policies, but you can only believe this if you accept that not a single life was saved by ABS or airbags (because government figures NEVER attribute positive outcomes to anything other than their own policies). The grand irony is that this technology is invented and sees production only because of research and development into racing - which in turn is driven by the market that recognises the benefit of performance in motor vehicles!

      5) Tying penis size to driving habits/Ferrari-ownership has no factual basis, and is usually touted by try hards putting up straw-men to hide the fact they haven’t even remotely considered anything like what I’ve typed above.
      Demanding the government solve all the little problems you haven’t actually researched with permanent, far-reaching, and excessive legislation is a far greater example of insecurity.

    • Iron Chef says:

      03:32pm | 30/10/12

      Best post of the day! Well said!

    • I hate pies says:

      10:25am | 30/10/12

      Good to hear the word “fangin” again - I’d forgotten about that one. Reminds me of my jackass brother in his younger days in his Torana pretending he was a rally driver. Amazingly, he’s still with us - he’s still a jackass though

    • Nathman says:

      11:04am | 30/10/12

      Hey Penbo… You know, I really like reading your articles, they make a good antidote to having lunch at my desk…

      But something I think you’ve failed to mention that even tho we’ve seen an upsurge in car crushing, Victoria has just seen its worst month (October) for road deaths in years, or decades even…

      So if it’s clearly not ‘hooning’ that kills people, what the heck is? I believe these hoon laws are just a smoke screen so governments can look like they’re actually doing something, which is par for the political course.

    • Bill says:

      11:16am | 30/10/12

      One thing they do in Sweden, which has one of the lowest road fatality rates in the world, is make every beginner driver sit through a 20 min video of real, graphic footage of carnage caused by road accidents. One Swedish friend says it scared the bejesus (I don’t think that was the actual word he used, but…) out of him and left him mentally scarred for life. Surely this type of thing wouldn’t go astray with these young hoons!

    • martinX says:

      11:39am | 30/10/12

      “It’s an interesting and broad new definition of what the role of government is, and given Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has declared war on profligate public spending, it’s a call which will surely be met with the laughter it deserves.”

      Your kidding aren’t you?
      How about: “Country horse racing to get funding boost” from a few weeks ago. An extra million bucks over four years just for country races.

    • expat says:

      11:44am | 30/10/12

      Nanny State at it again. Hooning is the result of below average driving standards, education, training and over restrictive conditions. Let me explain further.

      The speed limits are too slow, you know a speed limit is too slow when people stop paying attention and become complacent, they quickly get bored, find that break in the traffic and “hoon” in frustration. Christ even I do this, get stuck behind cars going so god damn slow, that you need to put your foot down to get around them, its frustrating how slow people often drive.

      Driver education and training, doing 40 or even 200 hours of supervised driving plus a basic written and practical test is not education and training. A structured plan which involves a combination of track and on road skills sessions plus comprehensive classroom education on cars, driving skills, road rules and etiquette is.
      You need to know how to handle an out of control car, all it takes is a slightly wet and oily road and you can find yourself “hooning” with no intentions of doing so. Why are all drivers not subject to advanced skills training? It would greatly improve the confidence and skills on the road, competency saves lives, nanny rules do not.

      I can put the above into perspective, something as simple as stopping quickly in a car with no ABS (yes you know those older cars with no electronic help which many people still drive, often young ones who cannot afford the newer cars). If you were to take a general sample of the public and put them through a short stop test from 80km/h, 99 out of 100 would just slam the foot on the brake and lock the wheels. That sums up why people are still dying on the roads, it has nothing to do with the odd wheel spin or speeding and everything to do with education and training.

    • Wayne says:

      12:18pm | 30/10/12

      “Christ even I do this, get stuck behind cars going so god damn slow, that you need to put your foot down to get around them, its frustrating how slow people often drive.”

      I used to do this, overtake slow people in the only overtaking lane along the Barton Highway home, until a cop pulled me up for doing 128 at the end of the overtaking lane.

      Yes, it exceeded the speed limit, but it was on a perfectly straight bit of double lane, overtaking a farmer in his ute doing 70.  The only reason I got to 128 was that he was half a click ahead of me, and I didn’t want to be sitting behind him for the next 20 mins.

      I will now not exceed the speed limit, ever, for any reason, no matter how much is pisses off the idiots behind me.

    • I hate peis says:

      12:27pm | 30/10/12

      Hooning is the result of young male brains that haven’t matured yet. No more, no less. The only way to stop it is to make males ineligible for a licence until they are 25.

    • LC says:

      01:30pm | 30/10/12

      Too many men under 25 may need vehicles for occupations such as tradesmen, handymen, builders, farmers etc. If you are going to do that, unless you also change the age that people are considered adults (meaning either keeping kids at school for another 8 years or starting them at school 8 years later) more people driving unlicensed, untrained and uninsured (and if they hit you you’ll be the one who has to pick up the bill) just to keep themselves in employment will be the only result of your pathetic proposal. . And in the meantime, hoons will continue to be hoons. I mean, they don’t care about any existing laws, so what would make this one so special?

      How about punishing those who do the wrong thing (with an iron fist, not a velvet glove), and not blanketly punishing everyone for a few f*ckwits?

    • I hate pies says:

      02:39pm | 30/10/12

      Sorry about that LC, I didn’t realise you didn’t have the intelligence to see that my “pathetic proposal” was merely an observation, not a proposal.
      Judging by the immaturity of your post, I’m guessing you’re under 25? Don’t worry, no-one’s going to take your car off you.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      03:43pm | 30/10/12

      @expat, seriously? So you’re the type I guess that getting stuck behind an L or P plater would scream past them and ride right up their rear, just because legally they’re only allowed to go 80 on an open road. Drivers like that annoyed the hell out of me when I was a L and then a P plater. So I ensure that if there’s one in front of me I give them a comfortable buffer and if I overtake them I don’t go from 80 to 100 in under 1 second.

      Oh and I drive a ‘91 Pintara, low mileage (around 100, 000 km) and I have never once slammed the brakes on.

    • andy says:

      12:10pm | 30/10/12

      david penberthy you are an ultimate troll. ill feed you a little bit, not too much though

      i much prefer to annoy arrogant pompous people like you so high up on your enlarged horse that it seems you are making up for some endowment lacking in your pants

      enjoy my wastegate fluttering in your window when im driving my FULLY ENGINEERED turbo car which is an absolute pleasure to drive.

      ill also send you a photo of my manhood if you would like just to prove i am not lacking in this area

    • patsy says:

      12:34pm | 30/10/12

      @BIll-Great idea. Not every teen gets to see first hand like my son did when a friend popped in after he was released from hospital. He had a metal halo screwed into his skull with a bit that went into his mouth. His passenger had his arm ripped off because he put the seat belt over his arm when he saw the pole. When they were rescued he was holding it in his other hand.. And don’t forget to tell your kids about some guy who took a swig out of his longneck before he hit a tree and they found the bottle lodged in his throat. (I think that one is folklore.) Needless to say my son has a good driving record.

    • Jackie says:

      01:01pm | 30/10/12

      I have lived in a “hoon” suburb and moved out of it because of that. Do you know how hard it is to sell a house that has burnout marks out the front and up and down the road. To lie in bed in the middle of the night listening to these idiots and wondering when a car was going to eventually lose control and smash into your house. By the time you call the police and they arrive the cars have generally moved on.  Go knock yourself out (literally) at industrial estates at night etc, but in built up suburban areas…..I have no sympathy for anyone who injuries themselves or worse being an idiot behind the wheel of a car

    • DFB says:

      01:21pm | 30/10/12

      Hoon is not a word.

      Look it up, it doesn’t exist as a word, it has no meaning, so what does it mean?

      Why, it means whatever X politician wants it to mean on a given day.

      Today it’s young blokes in hotted up cars doing doughnuts.

      Tomorrow it’s anyone exceeding the speed limit by more than 20kmh.

      The day after 10 kmh

      The day after that, exceeding the limit at all.

      Where does it stop?

    • Glen Fuller says:

      01:49pm | 30/10/12


      This is the earliest use of the term “hoon” that I found in my historical research of the enthusiast magazines belonging to the modified-car culture of the 1970s. It appeared in an introductory article about the then wildly popular “panel vanning” scene. According to the Macquarie Dictionary of New Words, hoon is an Australianism, with the earliest citation found in Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia of 1938: a hoon being “that sort of flash person who fangs their car around for amusement”. Hoon can also refer to those persons partaking in a careless, self-indulgent practice, and it is in this sense that Herbert used the term. It was not until the mid-1990s that the current hoon discourse gathered consistency across mass-media and political registers.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      01:54pm | 30/10/12

      It will probably stop when immature idiots with no concern for anyone else stop disregarding road rules and driving unsociably with their deaf ears tuned into ghetto blasting music, driving around with twin exhausts matching the noise levels of their sound system and basically being a_ _h_ _e_ ! So looks like the 12 of Never to me. In the meantime, @DFB and all your other brain challenged mates writing here, you’ll just have to put up with the word “hoon” and all that flows from it like SPEEDING FINES AND DEFECT NOTICES. 
      Thanks for your consideration of your fellow humans. Did you notice there were other people around you, by any chance?  Thought not.

    • randy says:

      03:13pm | 30/10/12

      it will never stop, until we stand up and fight the totalitarians ruling us, welcome to the socialist nanny state of Victoria. by the way, who set the guidelines of what is classed “proper use of a motor vehicle”?

    • Cedric says:

      01:38pm | 30/10/12

      There’s a rumour around that the Qld Govt is about to refurbish the 1860’s St Helena Island prison, in the middle of Moreton Bay, to accommodate more prisoners. and to revive the record. For example, there were 17 murderers, 27 men convicted of manslaughter, 26 men convicted of stabbings and shootings, and countless individuals responsible for assaults, rapes and similar violent crimes, and hooning in old Commodores, re-worked Monaro’s and tricked up 351 GTHO Phase II Fords. “It is impossible”, wrote the Visiting Justice in 1869, “for prisoners to escape from St Helena. I am convinced of it. They would have three miles to swim.” In fact, history was to show that the island was almost escape-proof. So, be warned those individuals, it’s far better to serve a life sentence for hooning, and become an expert on birds, than to escape from St. Helena Island.

    • sami says:

      02:08pm | 30/10/12

      Crushing cars is bloody wasteful and stupid. Why not just sell them at auction, like they do with abandoned vehicles?

    • Ivan Juric says:

      05:22pm | 30/10/12

      Hooning is an epidemic in the North West and the reaction from the government is tardy. We recently saw a well known AFL player hoon in lovely Brighton. The outcome was Government/Police and media outrage yet hooning in the North West is the disgusting norm. First hooning offence should result in a two day custodial sentence all following offences should double the previous custodial sentence. Hoons should be treated as dangerous felons.

    • the end of USA says:

      06:21pm | 30/10/12

      Did you know that Liberal voters are called Hoons in Labor Party circles!


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