3/16/2005Australia: Car Seized for Doing Burnout
A controversial 1999 law allows Australian police to seize cars for doing burnouts.
A 24-year-old Australian man had his Nissan 200SX Turbo seized on February 9 after an off-duty police officer witnessed the car perform a "burnout."
A 1999 law designed to fight "hooliganism" allows police without court order to impound for three months a vehicle that has "a substantial loss of traction" in at least one of the driving wheels. A second offense allows the police to keep the car indefinitely.
The Nissan owner, ironically employed as a speed camera operator, challenged the car seizure in court, claiming his loss of traction in one wheel for 1-2 seconds did not constitute a "sustained loss" of traction. When police failed to show up for the hearing, a judge ordered the car returned.
More recently, the ACT Government - which opposed the legislation when in Opposition - has promised to repeal it if it was being "implemented or applied inequitably or unfairly." At the time the new laws were being debated Labor described them as "schoolyard bully tactics."