Home' Horizons : June-July 2010 Contents ARE THE LAWS
Just how effective the laws will be
in the long term is not yet clear.
There has been little research
into the long-term effect of
impounding cars on driver
behaviour and while the Monash
University Accident Research
Centre is investigating the
effects of car impounding in
Victoria, it said it is too early to
The Office of Road Safety
also has no research showing
confiscation leading to improved
However, in March, Police
Minister Rob Johnson told State
Parliament he believed hooning
had decreased and "my personal
belief is that we have got some of
those dangerous drivers off our
roads," although he was cautious
about linking the laws to a lower
Commander Fyfe said it is just
too early to tell.
"We have to wait until
sufficient time has passed so we
can do really intense research
into whether it changes driver
behaviour, but at least it does
change their behaviour for 28
days because they haven't got a
car," she said.
"For those 28 days you and I
are a little bit safer on the roads
because they aren't out there
behaving like idiots."
If you would like to have
your say on the subject of
hoon drivers you can send
an email to the RAC at
WA Police’s State Trafﬁc Operations Commander
Michelle Fyfe said public information plays a key
role in the battle against hoon driving.
AT 19, Jarrod is a fourth-year
autoelectrician apprentice looking
forward to earning a fortune on
He is also a repeat driving
offender, having lost his licence
twice in the few years he has
held it, once for careless driving
and again after being reported
for doing a burnout near Carlisle
But to hear Jarrod tell his story, it
is a matter of bad luck rather than
"I was out at TAFE in November
2008 and I got peer pressured
into doing a little burn out. The
train guards dobbed me into the
police," he said.
"It took the police 18 months to
fine me and they sent me to court.
They issued me with a six-month
suspension and a $500 fine."
In the interim, he had lost his
licence for three months over
a careless driving incident --
something he said had reformed
him as a driver.
"After that three months, after
the first time I lost it, I was really
careful," he said.
"I got a speeding fine for $75 and
that's all the fines I got. I was really
careful. Now I haven't been pinged
for the six months and I'm a really
careful driver. It doesn't make
Because the offence was before
the changes to impounding laws,
Jarrod didn't lose his car, but
had to tell his boss that he was
unlicensed and couldn't drive the
machinery at his work. He has to
catch lifts, take a taxi or ride the
30km to work.
The hardest part, he says, is
seeing other drivers do the same
thing that landed him in trouble.
"It's sitting on the side of the
road waiting for your mum to
pick you up when there are
past doing burnouts anyway," he
said. "It just means I'm unlucky."
Young and inexperienced,
Jarrod may represent the public
perception of hoon drivers, but
Commander Michelle Fyfe of
State Traffic Operations, said
many people caught under the
WA laws are often old enough to
know far better.
"Apparently stupidity knows no
age bounds and we have a range
of people who really should know
better who go out and do this
sort of thing," she said.
"Who is a hoon? He is a pretty
diverse character -- no two are
ever really the same. I can say
they do tend to be male but that's
probably where it ends."
Peter Palamara, a research
fellow with the Curtin-Monash
Accident Research Centre,
has looked at some of the
factors that can make a young
driver dangerous and says
common traits include a love
of sensation-seeking and an
"They are rather egocentric
as well. They think the world
revolves around them and the
rules don't apply to them," he said.
"They overestimate their abilities
and they underestimate risk."
But he said it is too late to
change this thinking once teens
get behind the wheel.
"These kids have been learning
to drive since the moment they
can sit upright and look forward in
a car," he said.
"They see their parents
running amber lights turning
to red, they see them abusing
other drivers and they see them
speeding. Parents have to be
aware that they have to model
appropriate behaviour from the
time they are toddlers."
Hoons: who are they?
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