According to Professor D'Arcy Holman of the Road Safety Council of WA, hoons cause less crashes compared with more responsible, low-risk-taking drivers. He says it's the majority that matters when it comes to the road toll and says the majority includes drivers that take low-risks on the road, such as those who frequently exceed the speed limit by only a little bit.
Prof Holman says it's a myth that hoon drivers cause the worst havoc on the roads. He says general drivers who go over the speed limit on a regular basis cause around 3000 fatalities and serious accidents every year, whereas hoon-related accidents account for a smaller number of the overall road toll. He said in a recent The West Australian report,
"We certainly don't want anti-social hoon behaviour on our roads but it's the less conspicuous speeding behaviour of the general public that really matters in terms of safety outcomes. We need to target not so much the high-risk behaviour by a few but go after the majority.
"Hoon drivers massively increase their risk of a crash but the bottom line is not many people do that whereas you have many drivers going over the limit, which even by 5km/h doubles the risk of a crash."
It's certainly an interesting angle, especially as hoon drivers are typically regarded as the biggest contributor to the road toll as they are the easiest to target.
Prof Holman says figures from Main Roads show drivers have slowed down in the past ten years. In 2000, around 13 percent of drivers frequently sped by 10km/h or more. Last year, that figure was six percent.
He says the speed camera was probably the main cause in the reduction of speeders as motorists eventually got tired of paying fines.