Automotive

Hoons to pay $1,135 upfront to release cars

The new fees will be applied to motorists to deter bad behaviour and improve road safety for the majority of South Australians who do the right thing.

Hoons and dangerous drivers whose cars and motorcycles have been impounded will have an extra 10 days to pay a release fee before their vehicles are crushed or sold for scrap metal.

From 1 July – following an amendment to the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007 – irresponsible road users must pay a minimum fee of $1,135.50 to release their vehicle from SAPOL after the 28-day confiscation period ends.

At the conclusion of 28 days, offenders will have 10 additional days to pay the fee – which could jump as high as $1,395.50 – before SAPOL can dispose of the vehicle. Payment plans are not permitted.

Police Minister Vincent Tarzia said the new fees will be applied to motorists to deter bad behaviour and improve road safety for the majority of South Australians who do the right thing.

“We’re clamping down on hoons, dangerous drivers and reckless idiots who gamble with their lives and the lives of other motorists,” Minister Tarzia said.

“Offenders must consider the cost of their actions on our roads. It’s frustrating that a severe financial penalty, or the loss of a vehicle, is what it takes for the road safety message to sink in for some. A life lost is the ultimate price and it’s tragic.

“Driving is a privilege that should be reserved for those who follow the road rules.”

Money collected from the sale and scrapping of vehicles must be used to cover related fees. A court order may be issued to pay a credit provider before remaining money is returned to general revenue.

SAPOL Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said: “A car can turn into a weapon when used inappropriately and SA Police is committed to ensuring all South Australians can use our roads safely.”

“There is no need for dangerous driving and those caught will be held to account,” AC Parrott said.

“We hope this will be an added deterrent for people doing the wrong thing on the roads, as you will have to pay immediately to get your vehicle back.”

Vehicles can be impounded or clamped if a person has been charged, arrested or reported for up to 23 prescribed offences including dangerous driving, drink and drug driving, driving an unregistered or uninsured vehicle or without a licence, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to obey police, or misuse of a motor vehicle.

Credit card facilities are available at metropolitan impound yards. Cash and credit cards will be accepted at all police stations.

At a cost of $320, offenders can request to have their vehicle destroyed instead of paying impound fees.

This new measure is another step towards stamping out bad road behaviour and follows the introduction of tough legislation that will see hoons face increased jail sentences and licence disqualifications.

Under the extreme speed laws introduced to Parliament on 25 May, motorists convicted of driving at an extreme speed could be jailed for up to three years and face a mandatory minimum two-year licence disqualification for a first offence.

Extreme speed is defined as driving at 55km/h or more above the limit in a zone marked 60km/h or less, or 80km/h or more in a zone marked above 60km/h.

The SA Government encourages the public to also take a tough stance against dangerous drivers and use the Traffic Watch App to dob in hoons 24/7.

Dangerous driving can also be reported by phoning 131 444.

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