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Enhancing road safety for young drivers: How Graduate Driver Licensing initiatives can complement “anti-hooning” legislation.

Leal, N, Watson, B, Armstrong, K, King, M

Hoons

ACRS conference 2007

Street racing and associated (hooning) behaviours have attracted increasing concern in recent years. While New Zealand and all Australian jurisdictions have introduced “antihooning” legislation and allocated significant police resources to managing the problem, there is limited evidence of the road safety implications of hooning. However, international and Australian data suggests that drivers charged with a hooning offence tend to be young males who are accompanied by one or more peers, and hooningrelated crashes tend to occur at night. In this regard, there is considerable evidence that drivers under the age of 25 are over-represented in crash statistics, and are particularly vulnerable soon after obtaining a Provisional licence, when driving at night, and when carrying peer-aged passengers. The similarity between the nature of hooning offenders, offences and crashes, and road safety risks for young drivers in general, suggests that hooning is an issue that may be viewed as part of the broader young driver problem. Many jurisdictions have recently implemented a range of evidence-based strategies to address young driver road safety, and this paper will present Queensland crash and offence data to highlight the potential benefit of Graduated Driver Licensing initiatives, such as night driving restrictions and peer-aged passenger restrictions, to related road safety issues, including hooning. An understanding of potential flow-on effects is important for evaluations of anti-hooning legislation and Graduated Driver Licensing programs, and may have implications for future law enforcement resource allocation and policy development.