The universally-loved Ford Focus RS is coming under fire from Australian media, which has condemned it for encouraging “hoons” to “hoon.” One news anchor has already called the car and its Drift Mode feature “illegal” and police decried it as “plain stupid.”
Police and and safety experts are “furious” at Ford for adding such a feature in its car, reports the especially nettled local news outlet 7 News. “When a car goes sideways, it’s usually moments from a crash,” we are solemnly informed. Then the report goes on to note somewhat indignantly, “But this Ford Focus RS, launched in Australia today, is designed to slide.”
The report also provides us some insight from the police: “There’s no reason to have [Drift Mode] in a motor vehicle, there’s no safety reason to have a button you press that makes your car go sideways or does something else that’s not in your control.”
“It’s plain stupid,” he said, which could be said about a great many things, ahem.
Facebook commenter David Willett offered these wise words in response to 7 News’ Facebook report.
You and I recognize hooning as something extremely cool and praiseworthy when performed on a closed course, but the Australian government feels differently. In fact, there are strict “anti-hooning” laws Down Under. The Australian government defines hooning as such:
Hooning is the common word we use for any anti-social behaviour conducted in a motor vehicle—a car, van or motorbike—such as speeding, street racing, burnouts and playing loud music from a car stereo.
Hooning includes any number of traffic offences, such as dangerous driving, careless driving, driving without reasonable consideration for other people, driving in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke, and racing or conducting speed trials on a public road.
Penalties for hooning include fines, jail time and getting your car impounded if not permanently confiscated. It should also be noted that these laws only apply to hooning on public roads, which are more or less the same as reckless driving charges here.
The officer’s heart is in the right place, but he’s a little misinformed about what actually happens when you activate Drift Mode. Hitting the button doesn’t swing your tail out instantly. It just makes it easier to do so if you so choose, preferably at a place that is safe to do so.
Also, there totally is a reason for Drift Mode: it’s fun.