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.
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.
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.