26 September 2023

Crushing penalties for dangerous drivers

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South Australian Police (SAPOL) report that a new road safety initiative has become a red light for dangerous drivers, as hundreds of hoons and shameful drivers caught risking lives over a two-month period are now unable to free their vehicles from impound without consequence.

Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Parrott said more than 700 people had been punished for unacceptable road behaviour with fines totalling more than $248,000 already paid out by 235 drivers.

Assistant Commissioner Parrott said SAPOL data collated between 1 July and 30 August, following amendments to the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007, revealed that 744 vehicles were impounded for a range of driving offences; 339 of the violations were a subsequent or second offence; 235 vehicles were returned at a cost of $248,955; and six vehicles had been signed over to SAPOL for destruction with five already crushed.

He said offences that triggered the highest amount of impounds included: Driving while disqualified (239 vehicles); Driving while having prescribed concentration of alcohol in the blood (208 vehicles); Driving unlicensed after previously being disqualified for drug driving (55 vehicles); Driving unlicensed after never having held a licence to drive a certain car (54 vehicles); and Refusing a blood alcohol analysis (26 vehicles).

Road Safety Minister, Vincent Tarzia said a driver whose car was impounded for 28 days must pay a minimum fee of $1,135.50 to release it from SAPOL.

Mr Tarzia said that at the conclusion of 28 days, offenders had 10 additional days to pay the fee – which could jump as high as $1,395.50 – before SAPOL, from day 39, could dispose of the vehicle and payment plans were not permitted.

“The consequences are clear – choose not to pay and your car will be sold off or crushed,” Mr Tarzia said.

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