Drivers count cost of their poor choices as cars cop the crush

Monday 06 September, 2021

Hundreds of hoons and shameful drivers have been caught risking lives over a two-month-long period, but a new road safety initiative has become a red light for those dangerous road users who are now unable to free their vehicles from impound without consequence.

The Marshall Liberal Government is further boosting road safety by sending another clear message that dangerous driving will not be tolerated.

More than 700 people are on the hook for pocket pain as punishment for their unacceptable road behaviour, with fines totalling more than $248,000 already paid out by 235 drivers

SAPOL data collated between 1 July and 30 August – following amendments to the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007 – has revealed:

  • 744 vehicles were impounded for a range of driving offences.
  • Just under 50% (339) of violations were a subsequent or second offence.
  • 235 vehicles have been returned at a cost of $248,955.
  • 6 vehicles have been signed over to SAPOL for destruction – 5 have already been crushed.

The offences that triggered the highest amount of impounds were:

  • 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.
  • Refusing a blood alcohol analysis – 26 vehicles.

The data also shows six drivers were caught ‘street racing’ in separate incidents – one more than 45km/h over the limit and another in a manner dangerous to the public.

Another motorist – who had never held a licence – lost their vehicle for dangerous driving to escape police, while two others refused a blood alcohol analysis with a child in the car.

A staggering seven people were caught driving unlicensed after being previously disqualified for a serious drink driving offence.

Road Safety Minister Vincent Tarzia stressed, once again, that responsible drivers who obey the road rules have nothing to worry about.

“These penalties are for the selfish, rotten drivers who show no consideration for other road users,” Minister Tarzia said.

“If you commit the crime, you pay the price. We’re hitting repeat offenders, hoons and idiot drivers where it hurts. We make no apologies for this crackdown.

“The consequences are clear. Choose not to pay and your car will be sold off or crushed.

“Drivers have had more than enough warning. If you don’t like the thought of parting ways with your cash – and car – follow the road rules. It’s not rocket science.”

Drivers whose cars are impounded for 28 days must pay a minimum fee of $1,135.50 to release their vehicle from SAPOL.

At the conclusion of 28 days, offenders have 10 additional days to pay the fee – which could jump as high as $1,395.50 – before SAPOL, from day 39, can dispose of the vehicle. Payment plans are not permitted.

SAPOL Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said the early data should serve to remind people that SAPOL makes no apologies for removing cars off the road and making it hard for selfish drivers to get them back.

“What is really disappointing is that nearly half of the people who had their vehicles impounded in the last month have previously had their vehicles impounded before these measures came into effect.  Hopefully this encourages more people not to come back for a second time, or even once,” AC Parrott said.

Money collected from the sale and scrapping of vehicles must be used to cover related fees. A court order may be issued to pay a credit provider before remaining money is returned to general revenue.

Vehicles can be impounded or clamped if a person has been charged, arrested or reported for up to 23 prescribed offences including dangerous driving, drink and drug driving, driving an unregistered or uninsured vehicle or without a licence, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to obey police, or misuse of a motor vehicle.

Credit card facilities are available at metropolitan impound yards. Cash and credit cards will be accepted at all police stations.

Drivers of an impounded vehicle may apply to SAPOL to have their vehicle returned on hardship grounds.