Drivers in one Australian state have been warned as new anti-hooning cameras are rolled out just weeks after tough new laws to combat the driving offence were introduced.
The camera trailers will be rolled out across Queensland as part of a $6m project targeting dangerous driving in communities.
The program will first be trialled in Logan, Moreton and Townsville Police Districts, and will use advanced technology to capture hooning behaviour in real time.
Acting assistant commissioner Chris Stream said the trailers are “one of several overt and covert strategies” being employed to target large-scale hooning events.
Data collected by the cameras can be used as evidence by police in court, with Queensland enforcing the “strongest” hooning penalties in the nation.
The trailers come equipped with automatic number plate recognition, able to detect stolen vehicles, while information captured can be used to identify parties in court.
“Police will continue to conduct a variety of intelligence-driven enforcement patrols while also undertaking operations using the high-definition camera trailers,” he said.
More camera trailers are expected to be built pending the outcome of an evaluation of the initial three being trialled.
State Treasurer Cameron Dick reaffirmed his support for the “strongest hooning laws in the country”.
“Every single person taking part in dangerous and damaging hooning events must be held accountable,” he said.
“The community will never accept our local streets being turned into racetracks and people’s lives being put at risk.”
This comes after police broke up a group of around 100 cars in the Gold Coast as part of a hooning operation earlier this month.
As they dispersed, members of the crowd threw rocks, bricks and other items, injuring two police officers and damaging a police van.
A 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with two counts of serious assault of police and one count of wilful damage of police property and one count of obstructing police.
Offences for driving in a manner that creates unnecessary noise or smoke in Queensland carries a maximum fine of $2875 while offences such as street racing carry maximum fines of $5750 or six months in jail.
According to estimates from the Queensland Road Safety Strategy, 15 per cent of hospital admissions in 2020 were caused by road trauma, while the economic cost reached $6bn.
The state tightened its legislation around hooning in April in a bid to stop the anti-social behavious
It is now an offence to organise, watch or take promotional photographs for group hooning events.
Owners of a vehicle used in a hooning offence will also be forced to prove they weren’t the driver.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said at the time anyone participating in hooning would be “targeted relentlessly” by law enforcement.
“If you want to tear up our roads, we’ll tear up your car,” he said.
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