The actions of a minority of boy racers are ruining it for Palmerston North petrol-heads who just want to show off their rides.
Since a police crackdown on boy racers, Palmerston North car enthusiast Jamie Blackley said he and his friends were often stopped by police up to four times a night when they cruised the city during weekends.
The 20-year-old construction worker owns a 1996 Mitsubishi Evo that he concedes is a stereotypical "boy racer" car.
A month-long police operation to stamp out boy-racer activities in Palmerston North has seen more than 40 cars forced off the road.
Since the crackdown, police had handed out 158 infringement notices for minor offences, 23 traffic offence notices for more serious action, and also gave out 40 warnings to boy racers last month. More seriously, 23 cars were impounded and 25 given green stickers, requiring them to be kept off the road until they were repaired to a safe standard.
But the police operation had also resulted in annoyance for drivers such as Mr Blackley, who said that despite sticking to the road rules he was targeted as a young male driver.
"I think the police take a lot of it over the top. They judge all the boy racers on a very small group of them. I mean, I've got a boy-racer car and so do all of my friends, and we don't do what the police say we do - like get drunk, start fights, smash bottles.
"Not all of us are like [that]. We just have cool cars and want to show them off to friends."
Mr Blackley said one of his friends had been issued a notice for wheel spinning, which he said had been a "fair call" by police.
Senior Sergeant Phil Skoglund said the number of cars impounded was high, and helped send a message to boy racers.
"Since the running of the operation, we have seen a reduction in the number of . . . boy racers around the city.
"In saying that, over the period of the operation we had information that we were getting boy racers travelling up from Wellington to Palmerston North. Because of this operation, that has reduced."
However, there would always be people who would carry on, he said.
"We have an element in this community that think they can break the law in relation to dragging and boy racing.
"It's a reminder to those that if you're going to drive a motor vehicle, you need to drive in a safe manner.
"This behaviour will not be tolerated."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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