The hire car industry must take more responsibility for putting inadequately trained international drivers on the road, a south-west MP says.
Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan said the situation on the Great Ocean Road and surrounding areas was reaching “crisis level” with regular crashes and near-misses due to international drivers’ limited understanding of Australian road rules.
“The current situation on our roads is reaching crisis level and needs to be addressed immediately before more accidents occur on our regional roads,” Mr Riordan said.
“It is becoming apparent that the hire car industry, in particular, must take more responsibility about this issue of inadequately trained drivers being allowed on to our roads.”
Mr Riordan is calling on the state government to enforce compulsory road rule familiarisation training and the delivery of suggested touring routes and safety advice.
He has also echoed calls from Corangamite Shire councillor Simon Illingworth to give police the power to impound vehicles from unsafe international drivers, including hire cars. “The idea of rental companies losing a car for up to a month is designed to motivate them to take some responsibility to coach the potential international tourist driver in road laws,” Cr Illingworth said.
If hire companies could prove they briefed the driver on Australian road laws the vehicle could be released earlier, Cr Illingworth said.
In May, Mr Riordan spoke in Parliament calling for state Roads Minister Luke Donnellan to implement initiatives to ensure foreign drivers on Victorian roads could meet minimum safety standards.