WARRNAMBOOL State Emergency Services officials have welcomed a new initiative to gift unclaimed hoon drivers’ cars to units for emergency rescue training.
Warrnambool SES controller Giorgio Palmeri said although his unit had access to cars, other units across the south-west would appreciate getting additional vehicles to undertake training.
SES volunteers yesterday demonstrated how seized hoon cars would assist in Jaws of Life training for road accident rescues. Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells attended an exercise in Lilydale, which saw two abandoned hoon cars seized by Victoria Police ripped apart by Lilydale SES unit volunteers as they practiced car crash rescues.
“Last year, the Victorian Coalition government was pleased to announce its support for a Victoria Police initiative that will see forfeited or abandoned hoon cars provided to CFA and SES for Jaws of Life training,” Mr Wells said.
“The Coalition government has made a commitment to creating a safer road system, and we see the removal of these hoon cars from our roads for practical training of our SES and Country Fire Authority members as a fantastic initiative.
“Previously these agencies had to rely on donations from wreckers or the local community. This partnership is a practical way to assist the SES and CFA and provides the necessary resources to better train their volunteers.”
Hoons who refuse to pay impoundment fees at the expiry of the impoundment period will have their vehicle deemed abandoned and become the property of Victoria Police.
The Road Safety Act 1986 gives the Chief Commissioner of Police the authority to sell or otherwise dispose of a motor vehicle that is subject to a forfeiture order.
Mr Wells said the state government’s tough anti-hoon legislation had been an effective sanction and resulted in Victoria Police impounding 4600 vehicles last year.
“The anti-hoon legislation sends a strong message to drivers that anti-social and illegal driving behaviour will not be tolerated,” Mr Wells said.
“These efforts also contributed to driving down the state’s 2013 road toll to the lowest in almost 90 years.”