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Street Racing

Participating in a street race, or in preparations for a proposed street race, is an offence [s 19AD Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA)].

A street race includes any or all of the following when conducted on a road or a road-related area:

  • a race between 2 or more motor vehicles (whether the race is a drag race or otherwise, and whether the race is over a predetermined or indeterminate course)
  • a trial to determine how quickly a motor vehicle can cover the distance between 2 points
  • a competition between, or display involving, 2 or more motor vehicles consisting of or including the production of sustained wheel spin
  • a trial of a motor vehicle's speed or performance, or of a driver's skill.

Elements of the Offence

A person participates in a street race, or in preparations for a proposed street race, if the person:

  • drives a motor vehicle in the street race; or
  • promotes*, or assists in the promotion of, the street race or proposed street race in any way; or
  • engages in any other conduct that assists, or is intended to assist, in the street race or proposed street race taking place.

A person may be found guilty of an offence relating to a proposed street race whether or not the street race took place.

*Promoting a street race includes:

  • organising or conducting the street race; or
  • offering an inducement to another person to participate in the street race.

Penalties

For a first offence that is a basic offence:

Imprisonment for 3 years and disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for 1 year or such longer period as the court orders.

For a first offence that is an aggravated offence:

Imprisonment for 5 years and disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for 3 years or such longer period as the court orders.

An aggravated offence of street racing is where the offender:

  • knew they were driving the motor vehicle in circumstances of heightened risk
  • committed the offence knowing there were 1 or more passengers in or on the motor vehicle
  • knew, or ought reasonably to have known, they were driving a motor vehicle that had a major defect (that is, where use of the motor vehicle constitutes a serious risk to the safety of any person).

Circumstances of heightened risk, in relation to the driving of a motor vehicle, means:

  • driving between sunset on one day and sunrise on the next day
  • driving in circumstances where traction between the vehicle and the surface being driven on is adversely affected
  • driving in circumstances where visibility is adversely affected.

For any subsequent offence:

imprisonment for 5 years and disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for 3 years or such longer period as the court orders.

An offence will be considered to be a subsequent offence if there is a previous offence (for which the defendant has been convicted and that was committed within the period of 5 years immediately preceding the commission of the offence under consideration) against:

  • s 45A Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) (excessive speed)
  • s 46 Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) (reckless and dangerous driving)
  • s 47 Road Traffic Act 1961(SA) (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • s 47B Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) (prescribed concentration of alcohol – but a category 1 offence i.e. PCA less than 0.8 will NOT be taken into account).

An offence will also be considered to be a subsequent offence if there is a previous offence (whenever occurring) for which the defendant has been convicted against:

  • s 19AD (street racing)
  • s 19A (causing death or harm by use of vehicle or vessel)
  • s 19AB (leaving accident scene after causing death or harm by careless use of vehicle or vessel)
  • s 19AC (dangerous driving to escape police pursuit)
  • the previous subsection of s 44B Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) that prohibited street racing.
Street Racing  :  Last Revised: Thu Sep 18th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.