Behave or lose your car threat

By RENEE REDMOND

newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au

DRIVERS involved in street racing or are caught doing burn-outs will have their cars confiscated and in some cases forfeited to police as part of a state-wide operation, Novice Driver 2006.

Police are cracking down on provisional and learner drivers for excessive speed, driving offences, any offences relating to conditions of licence, burn-outs and street racing.

Richmond Local Area Command Acting Inspector Darren Winkler said the operation was a great idea.

"Anything we can do to reduce the amount of fatals involving novice drivers is a good thing," he said.

The operation started yesterday and will continue until January 6.

Highway patrol police from Sydney will arrive on December 22 to support local police in the operation as part of a second operation, Safe Arrival, which will target excessive speed, alcohol and drug-impaired driving, driver fatigue, and not wearing seat belts.

Insp Winkler said the operation was a result of the continued involvement of young drivers in fatalities.

He said the year to date figures for fatal crashes in NSW was 435 with a total of 480 deaths.

"100 of these crashes involved a vehicle being controlled by a learner or provisional driver," he said.

Insp Winkler warned police had the power to impound vehicles for three months for a first offence of street racing or burn-outs.

"The owner will have to apply through the police to have the car returned," he said.

"If the circumstances are aggravated the vehicle can be forfeited to the Crown," he said.

Insp Winkler said police from the Richmond Local Area Command alone impounded one vehicle a month on average and held anywhere between three and four cars in storage at a time.

"There is a storage fee of $16 per day and the owner of the car will have to pay for it to be towed as well," he said.

On top of that, the driver who is caught doing a burn-out will be slapped with a $450 fine and lose three points off their licence.

"If it's aggravated or a repeat offender, the fine is increased to $575, with four points taken off the driver's licence," he said.

For street racing, the offender must appear in court.



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