Hoon drivers face increased jail sentences and licence disqualifications under tough new laws introduced to Parliament today.
Under the new laws, motorists convicted of driving at an extreme speed could be jailed for up to three years and face a mandatory minimum two-year licence disqualification for a first offence.
Extreme speed is defined as driving at 55km/hr or more above the limit in a zone marked 60 or less, or 80km/hr or more in a zone marked above 60.
The new laws would see repeat offenders run the risk of the licence disqualification period increasing to five years. Police would also have the ability to strip offenders of their licence on-the-spot.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the new Bill would crack down on hoon drivers who she considers a "blight" on the South Australian community.
"Hoons are a blight on our community who place little or no value on their lives or the lives of others," she said.
"These new penalties recognise the risk these dangerous drivers pose to the community and provide penalties that reflect the serious nature of this type of offending."
In certain circumstances, the maximum penalty could be increased to up to five years imprisonment with a mandatory minimum licence disqualification for five years.
Those circumstances include:
- Where the offence was committed while attempting to escape a police pursuit
- Where the offending caused death or serious harm
- Where the vehicle driven was stolen
- Where the offender was driving while disqualified
- Where the offender was on a provisional or probationary licence, a learner's permit, or unlicensed
- Where the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In addition to aforementioned circumstances, a car that is registered in the name of the offender may also be forfeited to the state.
Minister for Road Safety Vincent Tarzia said this new legislation is a big step towards protecting all South Australian road users.
"This sends a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated," he said.
With countless people relying on driving to get to and from work, or just to visit a loved one, it is important to realise that everyone plays a role when they are behind the wheel.
"Every time you get behind the wheel, think about your family, friends and loved ones. They need you to arrive home safely," Mr Tarzia said.
The Bill was drafted in close consultation with SA Police commissioner Grant Stevens, who has seen first-hand the distressing results of extreme speeding.