MPs raise tourist driver concerns

March 17, 2016 BY

TWO state politicians in Victoria’s west have called for better driver education for overseas visitors to the region, particularly along the Great Ocean Road.
Earlier this month, Member for Western Victoria James Purcell said there should be compulsory education for international licence holders, who can drive without restriction if visiting on a temporary visa (six months if on a permanent visa).
“There was an accident at Cooriemungle last month that saw two Chinese nationals killed as a result of driving on the wrong side of the road.
“They ran into a local 37-year-old Cooriemungle farmer in a four-wheel-drive, who fortunately received only minor injuries.
“I urge the Minister for Roads and Road Safety to change the current international driver licensing system and reduce the road toll by ensuring that international visitors to Victoria are better educated on our road rules.”
He said international drivers were becoming an increasing problem on tourist routes, particularly along the Great Ocean Road, and it was a problem that was growing in importance as tourists were moving from organised bus tours to self-drive holidays.
“Often I get reports of drivers driving on the wrong side of the road, particularly along the Great Ocean Road, many even going around roundabouts in the reverse direction.”
Mr Purcell’s concerns were reinforced about a week later by Polwarth MP Richard Riordan, who suggested better instruction and tougher requirements for international drivers.
“Australian roads are different to the experience in some other countries.
“Driving from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles and back is a big driving experience even for seasoned drivers. Car hire operators should encourage tourists to stay overnight somewhere on the coast before making the long drive back to Melbourne.
“The Great Ocean Road is a popular tourist destination, and we want to say ‘yes’ to international visitors driving around Polwarth.
“But there is a responsibility that drivers should be fit to drive our roads.”

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