Many motor vehicle accidents each year are caused by dangerous driving such as drivers speeding or “hooning”.
Speeding is driving above the speed limit on a particular stretch of road. Hooning is a term used commonly in Australia to describe reckless, anti-social driving behaviours, such as excessive speeding, “burnouts” (causing the wheels of the vehicle to spin while the vehicle remains stationary) and “doughnuts” (causing the vehicle to spin).
Specific anti-hooning laws in some states prohibit many types of anti-social driving such as:
- Excessive speeding (at 45kms per hour or more above the speed limit or at 145kms per hour or more in a zone with a limit of 110kms per hour or more);
- Repeated drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs;
- Repeatedly driving without a licence;
- Drag or street racing;
- Deliberately or recklessly entering a level crossing when a train is approaching;
- Refusing to stop a vehicle when directed by the police;
- Carrying more passengers than there are seatbelts in the vehicle;
- Causing the vehicle to make excessive noise or smoke.
Hooning and the law
The police can impound or immobilise a vehicle it suspects has been involved in a hoon driving offence for 30 days. This period can be extended by a court upon a finding of guilt to 3 months for a more serious hoon driving offence (tier 1 offence) or for a second less serious hoon driving offence (tier 2 offence) within six years of the first.
If a person is found guilty of two tier 1 offences or three offences, whether tier 1 or 2, within a six year period, the court may order that the vehicle be permanently confiscated and disposed of.
A vehicle may be impounded or confiscated even if the driver who was hooning is not the registered owner of the vehicle. Before an impounded vehicle can be released, the costs of impounding the vehicle must be paid by the owner or driver of the vehicle, unless the driver is found not guilty of the offence, or any similar offence.
If it can be shown that the vehicle was stolen, the police must release the vehicle to the owner as soon as is practicable, without the owner being liable for any costs. A driver who is found guilty may, in addition to loss of the vehicle, receive demerit points, lose their licence, be fined up to 240 penalty points and/or be imprisoned for up to 2 years, depending on the specific offence.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by hooning or speeding, even if you are the driver at fault, you may be entitled to injury benefits or compensation from the Compulsory Third Party Insurer. However, being found guilty of some speeding, drink/drug driving and hoon driving offences may affect your entitlements. Please contact us either via the form on this page or by calling us.
If you have been charged with a driving offence, including a hoon driving offence, our criminal lawyers can provide you with advice.