Costly lesson as car enthusiast fined for vehicle modification

Benjamin Suridge, 22, of Giffen Street, Warrnambool, appeared before judicial registrar Michael Bolte on Thursday, pleading not guilty to the charge of driving a prohibited vehicle with a probationary licence.

Benjamin Suridge, 22, of Giffen Street, Warrnambool, appeared before judicial registrar Michael Bolte on Thursday, pleading not guilty to the charge of driving a prohibited vehicle with a probationary licence.

A Warrnambool car enthusiast has learnt the hard way that his car’s non-functioning modifications were illegal.

Benjamin Suridge, 22, of Giffen Street, Warrnambool, appeared before judicial registrar Michael Bolte on Thursday, pleading not guilty to the charge of driving a prohibited vehicle with a probationary licence.

Senior Constable Jared Chatfield told Mr Bolte that on December 22 last year he had received a report of hoon behaviour on Merri Street at 1.35am. Mr Suridge denied the erratic driving accusation but admitted his exhaust was louder than normal.

Senior Constable Chatfield inspected the car and determined its Redback exhaust, SS inductions and extractors were classed as performance enhancing modifications.

Mr Suridge told the officer he was unaware of the extractors.

When issued an $289 fine and penalty notice for three demerit points he became argumentative.

Mr Suridge argued the items did not improve the car’s performance because they had been installed incorrectly.

Mr Suridge told Mr Bolte that under a dynamometer test, the car had not shown increased performance as a result of the modifications, instead showing numbers well under the factory power limit.

Mr Bolte said the relevant legislation was in place to protect drivers from themselves and the community.

“Quite simply put, whether or not it was a successful attempt at modifying your car isn’t in the legislation act.

“I do take your plea of not guilty as your genuine belief there were no performance enhancements.”

Mr Bolte ordered Mr Suridge pay the original fine of $289, plus court costs of $73.40.

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