U.S. Markets closed

Police night-vision cameras make illicit burnouts even cooler


American hot rodders have it easy. Yes, if you misbehave in a public place there's always the chance of property damage and tickets for excesses of noise or speed. But rarely do amateur stunt-drivers face the loss of their vehicles — as they do in Australia, where a new law allows police to seize and crush the vehicles of "hoons" after just two infractions of traffic laws.

As part of its crackdown against the typically young drivers, Australian authorities have taken to using police helicopters fitted with night-vision cameras to find miscreants performing under the cover of darkness. In the process, the authorities have managed to create a video that only makes such demonstrations seem even cooler.

According to Australian media, last year the government of South Australia destroyed 178 cars, including six public crushings, seized from people convicted of various traffic offenses including drunk driving. After a legal challenge earlier this year, the law was upheld; other Australian states have similar codes targeting repeated reckless drivers, although some go so far to criminalize burnouts and donuts.

This video was shot in Queensland, where making donuts with your Dunlops can lead to police seizing your vehicle for 48 hours; if caught a second time within five years, the state could seize the truck and either sell or crush it. Although this particular hoon gets a little wild at one point, he or she appears to be harming nothing other than the truck's tires.

But that's not how officials there see it. “Hooning such as racing and driving recklessly in the suburbs is not only socially unacceptable, it is outright dangerous and places the lives of all road users at risk," said Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey earlier this year. Hence the application of a police helicopter to tracking the nighttime driving of a single vehicle — an expensive way to give the driver a nifty memento of their exploits.