A Guide on the Law on Hoon Driving & Burnouts in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

A man accused of doing burnouts on Australia Day in a residential street in Sydney’s north western suburb of Glenorie has paid the price for his hoon antics with his car now confiscated for three months and a court attendance notice issued in its place.

Around 4pm on 26 January 2020, a man behind the wheel of a Holden SS Commodore entered Cairnes Road where he began to perform several burnouts.

So extreme were the burnouts that the whole street was swathed in clouds of smoke, while the rear wheels of his car completely shredded, forcing the vehicle’s body to drop to the ground.

Nearby, an almost perfectly placed CCTV camera sitting on a bottle shop captured footage of the incident, which also showed four shirtless men assisting the driver to move the car to a neighbouring street where the vehicle was left behind.

According to locals, many of whom were left furious by the behaviour, the burnouts went on for almost 10 minutes with no concern shown by the man for the effects it would have on residents in the area.

In fact, residents were forced to call police due to the overwhelmingly loud noise and unpleasant smell from the smoke.

The following day, officers issued a 28-year-old man at a home in Pennant Hills with a court attendance notice for an aggravated burnout.

The man is due to face Parramatta Local Court on March 17.

The hoon was also handed a notice of suspension for his licence, while his Commodore was confiscated for three months.

According to Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb, to see a person behind the wheel of a car “behaving in this manner” was “alarming”, especially at 4pm on a public holiday.

“People should be able to celebrate Australia Day safely and acts like this puts people at risk,” Assistance Commissioner Webb said.

She labelled the conduct as totally unacceptable.

As indicated by the RMS, hoon conduct is the term given to dangerous and anti-social behaviour committed when driving a motor vehicle.

Hoon behaviour can include burnouts, police pursuits, speed racing, and generally driving over 45 km/h over the speed limit (which is considered a high range speeding offence).

The conduct is considered to be selfish and hazardous, with the RMS advising that drivers cannot simply treat the roads as their private race track.

 

“The Most Australian Thing to Do”: Opinions Divided as News of Australia Day Burnout Hoon Reaches Public

Indeed, locals of the Glenorie area were both shocked and angered as they were forced to endure the irritating sounds and smells of burnout offender.

But while hoon behaviour is generally considered unacceptable according to societal standards, as news of the Australia Day burnout incident reached the public, opinions were divided on the matter.

In fact, in one report, shared by 7News Sydney, an overwhelming sentiment of the behaviour being true to “Australian” culture seemed to permeate the public responses.

“The most Australian thing to do,” one user wrote, while another questioned, “Isn’t that part of growing up? Like none of you ever done it. Or it’s all about getting cash out from his pocket on account of revenue”.

“If dropping a skid in a Commodore ain’t Australia on Australia Day everyone may as well pack up and leave,” another wrote, echoing the sentiment.

Further opinions appeared to resonate with the idea of the behaviour being inherently Australian, with comments that included, “Come on just a burnout on Australia Day” and, “My kids would have run to the window cheering him on”.

“Hearing a burnout is like hearing the ice cream man. Straight to the front yard!” another jested.

One user, seemingly confused by the demeanour, simply wrote, “What a strange way to say ‘I’m insecure about the size of my pecker’”.

The Law on Hoon Driving & Burnouts in NSW

In NSW, whopping penalties have been put in place for any person who commits hoon or anti-social driver behaviour.

Specifically, a person is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle on a road in such a manner so as to cause the vehicle to undergo sustained loss of traction by one or more of the driving wheels (or, in the case of a motor cycle, the driving wheel) of the vehicle.

This attracts up to a fine of $1,100, according to section 116 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

Furthermore, section 116 also states that a person can face more substantial penalties where the person carries out the behaviour in which they:

  • operate a motor vehicle knowing that any petrol, oil, diesel fuel or other inflammable liquid has been placed on the surface of the road beneath one or more tyres of the vehicle, or
  • do, or omit to do, any other thing that prolongs, sustains, intensifies or increases loss of traction, or
  • repeatedly operate a motor vehicle in this way, or
  • operate a motor vehicle at a time, or on a road in a place, knowing that there is an appreciable risk that operation of the vehicle in that manner at that time and place is likely to interfere with the amenity of the locality or the peaceful enjoyment of any person in the locality or make the place unsafe for any person in the locality.

These types of offences each carry up to a $3,300 fine if it is a first offence.

However, if the offender is facing a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty jumps to a $3,300 fine and/or imprisonment for 9 months.

Questions? Get in touch with our criminal lawyers Sydney branch. We appear across all criminal courts, including the downing centre court.

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