Major omission letting hoons get away scot free

 

COUNCILLORS representing fed-up hinterland residents are pressing the state government to change the law to combat hoons tearing up and down otherwise quiet country streets.

The police union is also campaigning for the change, which would see owners of vehicles involved in hooning fined unless they dob in the drivers.

Currently, while the owner of a vehicle caught on camera speeding will be issued a ticket regardless of who was behind the wheel, the same does not apply to hooning. Action can only be taken by police if the actual driver is identified.

The move comes after a new report revealed hoons are winning the battle against residents in the Gold Coast hinterland because CCTV footage cannot catch them.

Gold Coast hinterland roads are popular for hoons.
Gold Coast hinterland roads are popular for hoons.

A report to the council's transport committee, after a petition complaining about hooning was signed by 57 residents, outlined why a raft of measures were failing to catch dangerous drivers in the Currumbin Valley.

"From a feasibility perspective, there is no existing safety camera network infrastructure in the Currumbin Valley area. The installation of permanent infrastructure would be complex and costly," the report said.

 

Posts on community pages by Gold Coast hinterland residents fed up with hooning.
Posts on community pages by Gold Coast hinterland residents fed up with hooning.

 

In the report council officers said the area was not well lit and the roads wound through hills, making it difficult to deploy a relocatable camera.

"With consideration of these aspects, it is likely a camera's capability would be insufficient to accurately identify an individual or vehicle licence plate, particularly during the evening," the report said.

"As such, footage would not be likely be suitable to assist in investigations and prosecutions."

The request by residents to look at other alternatives like road calming devices also presented challenges.

Main Roads officers investigated installing traffic islands or raised traffic calming devices but had concerns about the winding roads and poor street lighting.

The cost of intersection works could not be justified when many of them did not have any reported crashes in the past 10 years.

Roadside damage by hooning in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Roadside damage by hooning in the Gold Coast hinterland.

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But the transport committee, aware of the strength of community concern, backed a recommendation which will see council supporting a Police Union bid to reform State laws.

The recommendation calls for an amendment of the Transport Operations Road Use Management Act to "make owners of cars used in hooning incidents culpable for the crime unless they give up the person driving".

Mayor Tom Tate will be asked to contact Transport Minister Mark Bailey to clarify the State's position on law reform. Council have asked for an updated report.

Hinterland-based councillor Glenn Tozer, who regularly deals with complaints about hooning, has posted to Facebook strongly supporting council's stand.

"Hooning in the hinterland is a plague on many streets and many people believe council has power to prevent it. Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that," he wrote.

Tyre marks on the side of the road from hooning in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Tyre marks on the side of the road from hooning in the Gold Coast hinterland.

"Unlike speeding and red light camera offences, whereby the vehicle owner is issued a penalty infringement notice, hooning requires the actual driver to be identified at the time of offence. The Police Union has alerted state representatives to this anomaly, we were told, but no action from a legislative perspective has yet been observed."

If the state decides to make the legislative change, council cameras and reports would all become more effective and owners of vehicles used for hooning could be held to account, Cr Tozer said.

 

Originally published as Major omission letting hoons get away scot free



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