Opinion Piece: Moral Dilemma (Street Commodores Editorial Column)

11 Oct

This is the 19th in a regular series of editorial pieces we’ll be posting here on the blog, originally written by Hosking Industries’ Ben Hosking for Street Commodores magazine and other magazines he’s completed opinion pieces for. This column appeared in issue 185 of Street Commodores:

Moral Dilemma (Written April 7, 2011)

What do you do when your suburb is being overrun by idiots?

I live practically on a roundabout. My house sits right at the edge with the driveway pointing right at the large, round concrete disc that makes up the traffic flow modifier. It’s a pretty busy street, too. All the buses that circulate in the area use the roundabout day and night and with two primary schools in close proximity, you can bet 9am and 3pm are busy times here, too!

Sure, I should have thought about the potential for excess noise pollution before I bought the place a few years ago and honestly, to a certain extent I’ve trained my brain to block much of it out. However, there’s one element I haven’t been able to block out: idiot drivers and those with ridiculously loud exhausts.

I get all types around here, in all makes and models and with all types of drivers. There are men, women, guys and girls. In fact, for a long time I would see a bloke that looked like he was in his early 60s screaming through the roundabout in his red VY SV8 with Clubby kit and rims. Perhaps I didn’t mind that so much.

At all hours I hear V8s, V6s, four bangers and event the odd rotary buzzing through or around the roundabout. Some will be aggressively decelerating up to the corner only to bury the right foot again as they exit the intersection. Some will slow right down to a crawl and then try hopelessly to get their rear wheels to spin and I’ve even seen the odd moron fly through the roundabout on the wrong side of the road because it’s a straighter path! Considering the street past my house is a 50km/h zone and their 70-plus stunts seem rather ill-advised.

Being that I now work from home in my little home office means that I’m privy to even more reckless shenanigans and insane volume levels than ever before. So what to do about it?

Our local community association is calling for residents and members to report anything and everything to Police so that they have a proper idea of what level of policing is required in the area. They’ve even posted the official report form on the website so residents can complete the process easily.

Surely, there have been times I’ve reported things to Police, like the time two blonde chicks in a silver Toyota Echo with pink racing stripes repeatedly drove around town throwing eggs at houses and people. Or last Xmas holidays when a drunken tool was abandoned by his mate at 3am (probably for being a drunken tool) only to start yelling at the top of his lungs in the street and intimidate oncoming motorists – including jumping onto one woman’s bonnet and roof before Police finally came and shoved his face into the road.

But is Police intervention really necessary when we’re talking about teenagers and early 20-somethings in horrid automatic Hondas with half an exhaust roaring down the street? Should we be getting the law involved when some young fool is attempting for the second time in 20 minutes to pull a single-pegger in their VN V6 that sounds more tractor than Holden?

After all, we were all young once. Indeed, many people reading this very text would no doubt fall into the category of people I’m talking about – the group that thinks removing the rear muffler/resonator will provide an easy 50hp bonus and make the ladies weak at the knees with the sick sounds of their zorsts. Sadly, most engines don’t sounds so good with incorrectly modified exhausts systems, but that seems to be something we all only learn down the track.

My first Commodore was running a 202ci with a set of extractors and a single 2.25in system with a single muffler. I thought it was the sweetest sound in the history of mankind at the time, but I was forever hearing comments like ‘I could hear you coming from a mile away’.

What am I saying? Sure, the guys and girls cruising by with ‘excessively’ loud exhausts are annoying and often make me laugh at how stupid their cars sound, but I was one of those annoying morons once upon a time. I’d hazard a guess that most of the older readers were once the same. It’s something most of us grow out of, eventually opting for something that sounds a little more refined and throaty while still offering better flow and power.

Yes, I think I’ll start reporting more of the hooligan activities like burnouts, speeding and other dangerous things, due mostly to the proximity to the schools. However I think I’m going to leave the retards in the loud cars alone for the time being. What do you folks think; would you report them and their machines to the Police; probably to be sent an EPA letter as a result? I’d have been really bummed out if that had have happened to me back in the day, but perhaps that’s just what some people need.

Drive safe,

Ben Hosking

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