Mike Stevens | Jul 29, 2010

Victoria Police has announced this week that it is putting into action the latest phase of the state's 'anti-hoon' legislation, which enables police, with the aid of a court order, to destroy vehicles confiscated under the tough laws.

Before a vehicle can be destroyed, it must first have been impounded three or more times. Until now, such vehicles have been sold back into the community, with the profits going towards road safety initiatives.

From this week, when a vehicle that has been impounded three times or more is deemed unroadworthy, unsafe or does not meet a minimum 4-star safety standard, it will be given to the State Emergency Service (SES) for training drills before being destroyed.

"This is not only about sending a message to hoons, it is about creating safer roads," Deputy Commissioner for Road Policing, Ken Lay said.

"If we permanently seize a vehicle that is not of a high safety standard, in that it doesn't have features such as ABS brakes and airbags, I cannot in good conscience send that vehicle back into the community."

"This is about getting unsafe vehicles off the road and working to a higher standard of road safety across the state, while also sending a strong message to people who choose to hoon on our roads."

Determining which cars are to be destroyed and which will be sold back into the community will consider factors such as the Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR) developed by Monash University's Accident Research Centre, along with the condition of the vehicle and any modifications.

Even tougher legislation is proposed. According to Mr Lay, extended vehicle impoundment periods and increased numbers of offences that can lead to impoundment - including repeat offences of unlicensed driving, and alcohol-affected and drug drivers - are under consideration.

Under the proposed changes, first-time hoon offenders could have their vehicle impounded or immobilised for a week, up from 48 hours, and second-time offenders will face an immediate impoundment of 28 days. Third-time offenders face the likely chance they will lose their vehicle forever.

"These proposed changes provide a harsher penalty to dangerous drivers and act as a stronger deterrent against hoon behaviour," Mr Lay said.

Victoria Police also released figures today that show that the number of vehicles impounded has grown from 10,000 in February, to almost 11,500.

P-platers made up 40 percent of all motorists to have their vehicles impounded, equating to more than 4500 vehicles.

Full-licensed drivers make up 46 percent (more than 5100 vehicles impounded), disqualified drivers six percent, learner drivers four percent, unlicensed drivers three percent, and international license-holders one percent.

Young drivers, who accounted for 23 percent of last year's road toll, have proved to be the biggest hoons with 59 per cent of all offending drivers aged between 18 and 25.

The figures also show that males are also most likely to be the offending drivers, accounting for 97 per cent of all hoons.

Melbourne's western and northern suburbs and regional Victoria appear to have the most offenders, with St Albans, Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Mildura, Shepparton, Frankston, Mill Park, Craigieburn, Meadow Heights and Reservoir making up the top ten areas for hoons to reside.

In the below video, a 1997 Holden Commodore, seized from a 22 year-old probationary driver from Hamilton, is crushed by SES workers.

The vehicle was impounded three times for "improper use of motor vehicle" and "driving in manner deemed dangerous". On the third offence, the court granted the permanent forfeiture of the vehicle. As it did not meet a 4-Star safety standard under the Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR), it was earmarked for training with the SES followed by destruction.

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