It is something of a tradition in our society for children to borrow their parent’s car when the children first get a driving licence. It is also something of a vote of confidence by the parents to entrust the car to their child. Well that tradition has just become a lot riskier.

 

New laws make it a risky business for parents to lend the family car to their children. If the child is charged with one of the new “burnout” offences then the car will be seized by the police and impounded for at least three (3) months. The registered owner of the car ( the parent) will be charged storage fees for the time the car is impounded. Typically that could be $1,200.00 for three months.

 

If the driver if eventually found not guilty it is little comfort because the car will have been impounded whilst you are waiting for the case to be heard. The delay in hearing defended cases is around six ( 6 ) months.  If the car is needed by the family to provide transport for a family member to get to work, or whatever then the range of people affected by the child’s driving can be wide. Of course there is also the storage fees to be paid.

 

It is possible to apply to the court for an order requiring the police to give back the car earlier and we have recently acted for two sets of parents in this situation. The police seem to fight these cases fairly hard however in both cases we were successful in getting the car back for the owner(s).

 

The driver also suffers, particularly if they are charged with one of the more serious offences such as “ aggravated burnout” because there is a mandatory 12 months licence disqualification in addition to whatever penalties the court imposes. Indeed even if the court can be convinced to not impose any penalty the 12 months disqualification is still imposed by the RTA.