Roads are not racetracks, police warn after planned 'car cruises'
Drivers taking part in so-called “car cruises” have been warned their vehicles will be seized if they use public roads as racetracks.
Essex Police put a dispersal order in place in areas of Chelmsford from Friday, November 2 at 6pm to Sunday, November 4 at 6am following concerns there would be anti-social behaviour, including loud music and dangerous and erratic driving.
Ahead of more expected events in the county this week, officers from Essex Police’s Southern Roads Unit Tweeted to say it had “experienced road policing officers ready to deal with anyone crossing the line”.
They also shared posters with a list of dos and don’ts for those taking part in any events, which asks drivers not to rev their engines, play loud music, shout and use bad language.
It also asks people to turn engines and headlights off when they park up and “show consideration to residents by keeping the volume and bass on your audio equipment down to a reasonable level, particularly after 10.30pm”.
The Tweet added: “Let me be clear, we are not anti-car enthusiasts.
“We are anti-reckless/selfish drivers.
“If you park in an sensible place in legal cars with landowners’ consent where appropriate and show respect to the local community then we WILL leave you be (or perhaps come and admire your cars).
“However if you think you can use public roads as racetracks, act in an anti-social manner disturbing residents or commit offences which risk other road users then we WILL deal with you robustly, we WILL contact insurance companies and we WILL issue sec 59 warnings and seize cars.”
Under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, police have the power - without giving any warning - to seize a vehicle that is being driven carelessly or in an anti-social manner.
Officers can also serve noise abatement notices which can result in a fine of up to £5,000 if the person does not comply.
Essex Police has said it is “cracking down on illegal loud exhausts” in response to neighbourhood concerns, saying they “often disturb the sleep of local residents”.
Its dos and don’ts poster on Twitter adds: “We recognise and support your legal right to assemble in public areas and socialise with friends.
“However this must be balanced with not placing other road users in danger and the right local residents have to enjoy some peace and quiet in their towns.
“If you act and drive in a reasonable manner, in a safe legal car, showing respect to the local community, then you will not be stopped any more than other drivers.”