For an update to this story please see ‘Hoon car’ driver was only 17”
Many of our regular readers already know that New Zealand has world’s second highest road death and injury rates, twice that of countries like the UK. Much of the tragic loss of life and injuries can be attributed to two major factors – poor roads and bad driving, especially by ‘hoons’ or ‘boy racers’ and people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In the 12 months to 21 May 2010 126 people aged 24 and under have been killed on NZ roads.
For many years kids as young as 15 have been allowed to drive whatever they can get their hands on in NZ, including high performance cars and there is no legal requirement for them to hold so as much as third party insurance, often with tragic consequences. It may come as a shock to realise that this sort of thing happens in a country that is allegedly ‘such a great place to raise kids.’
Four-year-old Nayan Woods was walking with his six-year-old brother Jacob and his mother Emma on Linwood Ave, Christchurch (the city is the hoon capital of NZ) when they were hit by a car that lost control in wet conditions, Nayan died of his injuries shortly after 5pm last night, his mother asked that his photo be shown in any media coverage. The driver had been seen drifting before the collision in an area that is well known for its boy racer activity. Police have confirmed that they will press charges against the driver:
“The car slid from side to side on the road before climbing the footpath and hitting the children. One News described the driver as a boy racer doing drifts.
The six-year-old boy is in serious but stable condition at Christchurch Hospital.
Police were talking to the 18-year-old male driver.”
The car was a 1999 Suburu Silvia, registered to Ash Austin’s parents.
Later reports stated:
Detective Sergeant John Gallagher said alcohol did not appear to be a factor but “the manner of his driving is definitely an issue”.
Linwood Avenue is a ‘race track’ of a road, the maps below show its position relative to other crash locations:
A report in the Herald added
“Linwood Ave is a long stretch of road with multiple lanes, and residents said it was often used as a racetrack by boy racers. The road was wet yesterday after rain during the day.”
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the deceased child, and to his brother who was injured in the collision.
This tragic loss of a child’s life and the injuries of another, may prove to be the last straw for the residents of Christchurch, who have endured a plague of hoons in and around the city for many years, police seem powerless to control the situation and there are bound to be calls to deal with the problem before any more innocent lives are lost.
It has understandably caused an outrage in the community, reflected in comments left in multiple threads on the Trademe boards, this is part of one of them:
-“After today why would we want any car that’s a boy racer car on our roads.”
-“a small child was killed tonite by an out of control young male driver in chch”
-“Whatever, Judges are complete PUSSYS when it comes to sensible sentencing. Maybe if one our them had their kids killed by a boyracer we may see some common sense sentencing.”
-“Just heard the news re 1 child killed and another seriously injured when a boy racer car went out of control in Christchurch”
-“I saw the news headline but not the rest. Oh the poor family – crush him AND the car.”
-“Enough is enough!!!!!!!”-“Agree time is up. They have had their warning and the softly softly approach. . Bring out the crusher and take the toys away. The ones that are playing by the rules you should be on the case of those indiots out there that have no respect for anyone.”
-“This was one driver, driving a boy racer style car (no eveidence he *is* a boy racer) and he must stand up and take responsiblity for his actions whether he was out of control on purpose or he just made a mistake – as everyone does. And to be fair, “ma and pa average” have more accidents every day (but that is not newsworthy) than Boy Racers ever have in month (as per police comment)”
-“you dont often see ma and pa average kill girls while speeding down fendalton road, or kill pedestrians while racing down Fitsgerald ave or kill innocent drivers while drag racing on ferry road. Do I need to continue? Accidents happen but deaths caused through sheer stupidity behind the wheel of a car should carry a murder charge. Fact is all the above examples were drivers between 18 and 25 in boy racer cars. Downplay it as much as you like but here in ChCh they are a problem and it is time they got sorted out once and for all.”
-“You don’t see it because the media get more of a response when a “boy racer” is involved. So they make more effort to give it a higher public profile. I lived in chch for a long time. Don’t tell me about the problem you have. It’s not half as bad as you would like to believe. I would have called myself more of a boy racer in my 2 door ford laser than half the kids rolling around that town at night. Majority of those kids just do laps because they have nothing better to do. Yes, there are some that are reckless but you will find them in every city. Christchurch happens to have a good circuit for it too, long, wide open streets, unlike somewhere such as wellington. And there are more houses living next to those roads, which means more people notice the sound of boy racers.
If wellington had the same type of streets, you would notice the boy racers more often and no doubt more accidents.”
-“I agree that it’s not just boy racers and If you’re a boy racer and a responsible one then I don’t have any issue with you. But with young people, fast powerful cars, peer pressure, maybe liquor and bravado combinne to give a rather leathal mixture.”
-“Look. Once someone has killed in a car, they KNOW not to be reckless again. The sentencing is nothing but more punishment. They will be tormented by what they have done. And don’t give me that ” Well they should be tormented and punished more blah blah blah” bullshit. The trick is to get through to them before they do it. It’s not the car that’s the problem, it’s the mindset.”
-“from the news report: A young eye-witness told The Press he saw a car “screeching” around a corner before hitting the group. Car tyres only screech when they’ve lost traction mainly due to excessive speed. My friend’s 20 year old son had an accident on his motorbike last week, doing 50km around a greasy tight bend, lost control, skidded along the road for 5 metres with the bike on top of one leg. Thankfully he hit no-one and nothing. He said it was his fault for driving too fast for the wet conditions and will take that corner at 30km from now on. Now THAT is the right (grown up) attitude.”-“Last week there was a auction that got banned promoting Boy racers. Most of the ppls that came onto the thread supported Br’s. I really hope you are reading this thread tonight. It was a matter on time before things like this happen. That poor kid didnt deserve to die, When are the Rb’s going to learn. How many more kids have to die?”
-“Over and over again these young clowns are bringing misery and heartbreak to others and their own families because of this entrenched “must go fast” culture they have all subscribed to. This reckless disregard for the saftey of others coupled with that dip shit attitude of being ten foot tall and bullet proof. Adding to that is the fact that these young idiots have easy access to high performance vehicles which do require a reasonable amount of skill and experience to operate.”
-“in another thread someone says they have seen that car doing skids in the neighbourhood. You only have to look at the damage in the photos to see this guy was out of control and kids on the TV news said he came sliding down the road!I hope you will visit your mate when he is in prison – he will need your support. An 18 year old + high powered turbo rear wheel drive + wet road = recipe for disaster.” more…
In Feb 2009 in an attempt to rid the city of this problem, police took 67 boy racers off the streets of the city, in 2007 police prosecuted 500 people after a sting targeting boy racers in the area. However, these efforts seem to be futile if the comments left on the Trademe threads are anything to go by. more
Isn’t it time that long, straight stretches of road like this in Christchurch were fitted with speed reduction measures, isn’t it time that compulsory age weighted insurance was made mandatory in NZ.
Who wants to live in a city, or a country, that’s little more than a race track?