Concerns over illegal street-racing resurgence

Concerns over illegal street-racing resurgence

Police are concerned about resurgence in illegal street racing and drifting across Auckland, and have launched a targeted operation to stop drivers.

Seventeen cars were impounded and eight people arrested in the latest crackdown last weekend, and Counties Manukau road policing manager Inspector Alison Brand says police won't stop there.

"The knock-on effect to a vehicle being impounded is significant for these car enthusiasts because that's their baby ... it's their pride and joy. It also has a knock on effect for how they get to work."

Newshub joined policing teams impounding vehicles, and witnessed two cars being seized - including a souped up VW Golf in Sandringham, and a Nissan Leopard in Birkdale. 

Both were caught racing by police, and doing burnouts in Penrose earlier this month.

The two owners, both males in their early to mid-20s, won't have access to their cars for 28 days. 

Police say they're only a small part of a growing problem, with hundreds of cars congregating at locations across the city most weekends.

But Auckland isn't the only hotspot, with reports of racing in Waikato and Bay of Plenty.  

 "We can have what they call trains of cars up to 2-300 cars long. They're travelling potentially hundreds of kilometres in a night," says Insp Brand. 

Officers believe social media is fuelling the problem, with drivers using it to organise race meets, and post videos of their cars. 

"It's not the typical boy racer cars you see in these congregations; we have all different sorts of vehicles and quality of vehicles," says Insp Brand.

Most of the footage shows dangerous manoeuvres, skidding across centre lines, and hooning along roads at top speed. 

"At any stage and at any time this type of behaviour can go horribly wrong," she says.

Police say the majority of drivers involved in illegal street racing are young men aged 17 to 30, many of whom also insure their cars under their parents name. 

"We still have a lot of parents who are insuring the vehicles under their name, and that can certainly have a significant impact to their insurance eligibility," says Insp Brand.

Illegal street racers are being warned they're firmly in police sights, and are being urged to take their vehicles off the streets and onto the race track.