365 street racing offences

A 20-year-old man caught allegedly doing burnouts in his vehicle this week, may soon join the several hundred other motorists convicted of illegal street racing in the South.

Police were called to Odlins Pl, Mosgiel, on Thursday night, after a security guard witnessed the driver of the vehicle performing burnouts in the industrial area.

The vehicle was later impounded by police, and the Dunedin driver charged with several offences, including causing sustained loss of traction, Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times reveal 365 drivers in the southern region have been convicted of illegal street racing offences between December 1, 2009, and June 2012.

Of those drivers, 346 have been convicted of one offence, 18 of two offences and one on three offences.

Invercargill led the way with 162 convictions, including 10 drivers convicted on two occasions.

Dunedin was next with 90 convictions, including two drivers convicted twice.

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes, of Invercargill, said with the wide streets ''the city was custom-made for dragging, if the boy-racer wants to do it''.

However, the figures showed police were acting on complaints, ''catching them and confiscating vehicles for 28 days''.

There was also a heightened awareness of the issue in the city, after three teenage boys were killed when the car they were in hit a wall of an inner city business in July 2009, Snr Sgt Raynes said.

Nationwide, 3883 drivers have been convicted of one or more offences, under the so-called ''boy racer'' legislation.

When a person has been convicted of three illegal street racing offences within a four-year period, the court has discretion to order the confiscation and/or destruction of a vehicle involved in the offending.

The four illegal street racing offences include: operating a vehicle in a race or exhibition of speed or acceleration; operating a vehicle causing sustained loss of traction; unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration causing death or injury; and sustained loss of traction causing death or injury.

Last year, the first car crushed under the boy-racer legislation was flattened at a Lower Hutt scrap-metal yard after its male owner was convicted of his fourth driving offence.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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