7/8/2007Australian Police Move to Censor YouTube Videos
Police in South Australia seek to censor videos depicting motorists revving engines or doing burnouts.
South Australian Police have asked YouTube to remove any videos that the force believes encourage "hoon" driving. The slang term refers to those who do burnouts, drift around corners and generally drive in such a way as to show off their vehicle. Police officials have also announced that they are monitoring the video hosting service to find evidence that could allow the confiscation of expensive vehicles.
"The traffic intelligence section does keep an eye on YouTube on a reasonably regular basis to see if we can't pick up something that is identifiable," South Australian Police Superintendent Tony Rankine told the Adelaide Sunday Advertiser newspaper. "I'm considering whether there is some way we can look at blocking or having some impact on the content with the website host."
A number of online videos, such as this one, depict drivers doing stunts both in residential areas and deserted roads. A glimpse of a license plate in the video is all the proof needed for police to seize a vehicle, as the state's law already allows confiscation based on nothing more than a witness claim to have seen tire smoke or heard engine revving.
"The family car is not exempt from being impounded, and police have the power to impound a vehicle involved in hoon activity regardless of whether or not the driver is the registered owner," Police Minister Paul Holloway explained.
This tough-talking approach has has generated significant revenue for South Australia. It defines a hoon as one who: "...operates a motor vehicle in a public place so as to produce sustained wheel spin; or drives a motor vehicle in a public place so as to cause engine or tire noise, or both."
Fines range from A$600 for a first offense with three months imprisonment and a six-month driving ban. Subsequent offenses carry an A$1250 fine and six months in jail. Since the law was adopted in 2005, police have issued 1800 citations and impounded 1100 cars. Of these, 216 vehicles were grabbed for making "engine or tire noise."