Two new laws giving police, courts and local authorities greater powers to crack down on illegal street racing come into force at midnight tonight
The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act and the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act will mean offenders found to be acting illegally will lose their licenses and their vehicles much sooner.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the Enforcement Powers Act sends the message that the type of dangerous, disruptive and antisocial behaviour associated with illegal street racing will not be tolerated.
"While previous law allowed for vehicles to be confiscated, the actual rate of confiscations was less than two percent. These new laws will close loopholes in existing laws that allow illegal street racers to avoid penalty.
“Targeting the things these offenders value the most – their licence and their car – is expected to be a much more effective deterrent than fines, which have often gone unpaid in the past.”
Police Minister Judith Collins said Police would be actively focusing on illegal street racing when the new laws come into effect.
“Police will be paying particular attention to offences involving public disorder, dangerous behaviour on our roads and excessive noise,” Collins said.
“The message to illegal street racers is that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated and that the Police and Courts now have the authority to take their vehicles off the road permanently."
The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Act will include provisions to:
- Allows local authorities to create bylaws that prevent vehicles repeatedly “cruising” city streets
- Allows the compulsory impoundment of vehicles involved in illegal street racing
- Introduces demerit points for noise offences, licence breaches and registration plate offences. This will ensure repeat offenders will lose their licenses, rather than just accrue fines.
The Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act:
- Allows vehicles to be seized and destroyed as a new penalty for illegal street racing
- Allows vehicles repeatedly used by people with overdue traffic fines to be seized and sold to pay those fines
- Enables Police and Courts to target illegal street racers who commit offences in another person's vehicle.