Idiocy on our roads is never ‘out-of-the-way’

The Courier has not been backward in condemning the backward practice of hooning  The problem with the half-witted occupation is it is one that disproportionly affects country towns and lower socio-economic suburbs and yet these are the places that can least afford it.

It is not like such places have disproportionate idiocy making the problem so severe. Rather when it comes to the combined effect of having numbers of small-minded youths (invariably male) suffering from the combined blight of little imagination or originality, poor peer group practices and impotent boredom, then hooning seems to reach epidemic proportions and the whole community suffers from it.

This week we saw the outrage of the hard working volunteers who have spent years trying to establish the Avenue of Honour as a place worth visiting. Their disgust at the hoons who burnt a lot of rubber at the Remebrance Drive overpass, specially dedicated to the dead from the First World War, was based on anger that so little respect was shown. 

But sadly the infantile mental capacity of the drivers probably may not even stretch to knowing where they were or what they were desecrating.  That is indictment enough but also highlights how big an issue it is to change the culture when you are dealing with people where law, respect or even consequences do not enter their cognitive processes. Added enforcement is the natural response of the community but it is limited. As The Courier has noted: “Threats of punitive justice barely register with such bovine intelligence. The concept of a safety obligation to other road users or even themselves is such a faint flicker in the cavernous emptiness of their brains, it would almost take a miracle for laws alone to shine the light of day into there and change how they act.”

It has been argued that these youths do their hooning outside town and so only risk their own questionable lives but the incidents this week clearly show every thing comes at a cost. In the case of Burrumbeet, a stain on a community that has worked hard to make something and in the case of dozens of other country intersections serious damage to a road network that councils can ill-afford to repair. already. Add to this damage the widespread frustration of the community and the genuine fear of safety consequences for others, including starting fires in this drier season, and it is clearly a much bigger problem than some “harmless out-of-the-way fun”