Unfriendly neighbourhood hoons

THE problem of noisy neighbourhood hoons is one that extends from beyond the city into the country, according to Latrobe Valley residents.

When asked in an online forum on what annoyed them most in their neighbourhoods, hoon drivers topped the list, followed by loud music and loiterers.

This comes on the back of a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on problems in neighbourhoods, which revealed 35 per cent of Australians were bothered by rev-heads.

Identifying hoon activity around Vary Street, Beattie Crescent and Symons Crescent in Morwell, Sally Mafis said she feared innocent children might lose their lives due to reckless drivers.

In 2009, six year-old Bangoang Tut was killed after being struck by an out of control car in the front yard of his Morwell home.

In echoing concerns for children’s safety, Moe resident Lisa Evans said dangerous drivers seemed to disregard the safety of children in built-up areas.

“None of them stop to think for a minute about all the kids that are around the schools and houses; they all need to drive safely in the towns,” Ms Evans said.

Meanwhile, Churchill resident Patricia Hale said she had recently been hit with a hefty bill because of one person’s irresponsible driving, which was not her fault.

She had to replace two cars parked in her driveway after a hoon lost control and “wrote off” the cars.

“(It) scared the daylights out of us; our insurance paid us out (as the hoon didn’t have any) but only the market value, which meant we had to use several thousand dollars out of our own pockets to replace the cars,” Ms Hale said.

In responding to the concerns raised, Division Five Traffic Advisor Senior Sergeant David Watson said people should take note of the make and registration number of the cars, as well as the location and time of day, if it occurred regularly.

“Take down the details and inform the police so we can enforce (the law),” Snr Sgt Watson said.

“Hooning in residential areas is plain stupid; there are pedestrians and young kids playing, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

He said penalties for hoon behaviour included a 30-day impound on the vehicle, a possible summons before the courts, with a likelihood of losing their driver licence and a hefty monetary fine.

In outlining residents’ rights, he said Environment Protection Authority Victoria had measures on how much noise a car could emit.

“If it’s too loud, the cars can get tested; it’s a matter of informing the EPA,” Snr Sgt Watson said.

With regard to blaring music from car stereos, he said if it was a stationary vehicle, residents should call the police.

“Drivers who have their music on very loud should remember there may be dangerous consequences,” he said.

Other Express readers also voiced frustration at drivers doing burnouts or doughnut at traffic lights and around corners.