Here comes summer, and boatloads of bad drivers!

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Bad drivers in Tasmania
Around 50,000 cars visit Bruny Island annually. PIC: ABC

With the temperature rising, the tourist season is getting into full swing in Tasmania. That, of course, is great news for the local economy, but less so for local motorists.

In recent years as tourist numbers in the Apple Isle have boomed, so too have concerns over road safety. The ABC reports that many Tassie residents feel the situation is becoming extreme.

“People will just suddenly stop the car in the middle of the road in front of you,” Bruny Island local Megan Weston told the national broadcaster. “They are either consulting something or jumping out to take a photo of an echidna, they are moments that are quite scary … you’re always on edge.”

While grey nomads driving big rigs do come in for criticism in some quarters, it seems that it is overseas drivers that are considered by many to be the biggest problem.

Last year 307,000 international visitors came to Tasmania, which was up 15% on the previous year.

Wayne Maher, the state manager for Budget Car and Truck Rentals, told the ABC he has taken keys back from international customers after assessing their driving abilities in the car park.

“We want tourists, and it’s our business, but through duty of care we’ve got to look after other people on the road and also our vehicles,” he said. “There have been situations where literally they don’t know how to drive at all — and that’s right down to not knowing how to start the car.”

He said he employed staff who could speak Mandarin to ensure safety messages were communicated.

However, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania’s chief executive, Luke Martin, told the ABC that it was a myth that tourists were over-represented in crashes. Despite the anecdotal evidence of residents, international drivers account for only 1.4% of all reported crashes.

Mr Martin said suggestions that international tourists should display visitor driver plates and complete driver tests were impractical.

“It’s just something we all need to be mindful of, and that there are more motorists on the roads over summer generally,” he told the ABC. “We just need to be more diligent and carefully monitor the data.”

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4 Responses to Here comes summer, and boatloads of bad drivers!

  1. A quote from the above article.
    “”Last year 307,000 international visitors came to Tasmania, which was up 15% on the previous year.””
    Are visitors from the mainland included in this figure???

    Now the RV segment of the tourism market in Tassie would no doubt be around 90% of vanners on Tassie Road.
    We pay a huge passage fare to visit the State, so my belief is that there is only a very very small % of us who appears in the minds of Tasmanians to upset and annoy.
    A good example of the squeaky wheel getting all the attention.
    Johnnie Rodgers

  2. You will note Megan Weston says “cars ” and here on Bruny these pose the largest problem. Have had several incidents with motorhomes and vans, but they are in the minority. Should you live here, you would understand it has nothing to do with “the squeaky wheel” rather than those behind the steering wheel. People do not prepare themselves adequately for the driving conditions, especially winding, potholed gravel roads. You are all very welcome, just a warning to take due care. Stay safe.

  3. We have visited Tasmania 4 times over the years, and for about 3 months on each occasion. And yes, I have to agree that some drivers, particularly international visitors/drivers are a “force to be reckoned with”, but the problem is the locals, in our travels around Aust., we have encountered more drivers ,definitely locals, over taking on double lines/blind corners or travelling much too fast on those fine gravelly roads through parks and forestry areas. Actually came across 2 local residentsnt on the same road about a km apart that did just that and ended upside-down, down an embankment.
    I think we all need to slow down, leaving 10 minutes earlier is a pretty good option, ????. Cheers Sundy

  4. I drive a motorhome but i am not travelling full time. I have had my truck license for 43 years. Some of the things i see motorhome drivers and caravaners do on the road make me cringe , it is the other drivers knowledge that has avoided an accident. Some drivers have driven nothing bigger than a small car and are now driving a large motorhome with no experience driving a larger vehicle and some people towing a caravan have never even towed a 6×4 trailers and now tow a 25 foot caravan. I really think licensing laws need changing for RV’s. Some people do some really dangerous and stupid thing when operating RV’s and it needs to be regulated. People may say I’m a bit over the top but if this is the case , why do RVers have such a bad name.

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