Hoons face losing car at first offence
Police Minister Liza Harvey and Inspector Ian Clarke with impounded cars. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Hoons caught terrorising suburban streets, doing burnouts or damaging homes could have their cars immediately and permanently confiscated.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said yesterday the Government was pushing ahead with an election commitment for tougher hoon laws that would give courts power to permanently remove a vehicle from the owner on a first offence.

Since January 1 last year, WA Police has impounded 2827 vehicles under hoon laws - or five a day. Almost 900 vehicles have been confiscated so far this year.

Under current laws, speeding more than 45km/h over the limit is considered reckless driving and allows police to seize a vehicle for 28 days if it is a first offence.

A car is permanently confiscated only after a third offence.

The new legislation will allow police to apply to have a vehicle removed from a hoon for good if the offence causes distress to residents, occurs in a school zone or damages the road or property.

"If we can separate a reckless, antisocial driver from their vehicle, we know that at least they can't use that vehicle as a weapon in our communities and cause fear in the hearts of those people who should be able to sit in their lounge rooms and not worry about a car ploughing through their front door," Mrs Harvey said.

"It's been referred to as 'brain fade' when certain people get behind the wheel of some of these vehicles and drive in a reckless manner. I call it idiocy. Absolute reckless, irresponsible, selfish idiocy."

Other proposed changes to the laws include confiscation on a second strike for any hoon offence in suburban streets. Unlicensed trail bikes could also be permanently removed when ridden on the road in the first instance.

Police yesterday showed four vehicles seized because of hoon offences during the past month.

A man, 40, and a 26-year-old man had their cars seized after allegedly driving at more than 200km/h in Lakelands and Manning. Both face charges of reckless driving.

Another three people, who police say were members of a car club, had their vehicles impounded when police downloaded video of them allegedly racing on Leach Highway.

A woman, 23, of Waikiki, a 31-year-old man from Ferndale and a 27-year-old Applecross man will face court at a later date.

The West Australian

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