Recent media coverage has made most people aware of the Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Act 2003 (“Act”) that came into effect on 1 May 2003. ‘Boy Racers’ may find that the most controversial part of the Act is a provision allowing impounding of motor vehicles.

Where an enforcement officer believes that a person has used his or her vehicle in a race, in an unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration on a road, or without reasonable excuse causes his or her vehicle to have a sustained loss of traction, the police may impound the person’s vehicle for 28 days.

There is a right of appeal to the police where the vehicle’s owner was not aware, and could not reasonably be expected to know, that the operator of the vehicle would be carrying out any of above activities, or took reasonable steps to prevent such activities.

Other penalties (depending on the offence) include up to three months imprisonment, a fine of up to 4500, and disqualification from holding or obtaining a drivers license for a period of six months or more.

We will need to wait and see before deciding if the Act will make any difference to “racing type” activities or our streets. Just remember you must have a good reason for doing a burnout!

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