In 2004 the Government amended the Road Traffic Act 1974 to address concerns over organised street drag racing and reckless driving. The Road Traffic Amendment (Impounding and Confiscation of Vehicles) Act 2004 and subsequent amendment legislation, commonly known as Hoon Legislation, empowers police to impound vehicles that:
- are driven in a reckless manner,
- do a burnout; or
- are driven at a speed equal to or greater than 45km/h over the posted speed limit.
Penalties for hoon behaviour
On 1 January 2010, penalties for hoon behaviour were amended by the Road Traffic Amendment (Hoons) Act 2009.For any applicable offence police must impound a vehicle for 28 days for a first offence. For a second offence they must impound a vehicle for three months. Upon conviction for a third or subsequent offence, as well as the normal penalties for the offence, a court may also order the permanent confiscation of the vehicle or its impoundment for up to six months.
If the driver does not own the vehicle
The driver of the impounded vehicle is responsible for paying all towage and storage costs if convicted. The owner of the vehicle will be notified by police.
If the vehicle is not collected after the impoundment period expires, the owner is responsible for post-impoundment costs.
Police may refuse to release a vehicle if the impound and towage costs have not been paid at the time it is to be collected. Police are also not required to release the vehicle until the place where it is being held is normally open for business.
Collecting an impounded vehicle
Only the owner or a person authorised by the owner may collect the vehicle. The person collecting the impounded vehicle will need:
- a form authorising the release of the vehicle, available from a police station;
- to produce a vehicle licence or registration in the name of the vehicle owner;
- photographic identification, eg: driver's licence with a photo, passport; and
- to pay any costs involved.