International drivers should be tested on road rules

INTERNATIONAL drivers should undergo a simple test to determine if they understand the basic road rules in Victoria, according to Member for Western Victoria James Purcell.

He raised the issue in parliament on Wednesday following a string of accidents on the Great Ocean Road in recent months.

Mr Purcell proposed an online test including simple questions such as what side of the road do you drive on in Victoria, what are the speed limits, what is the legal blood alcohol limit and who do you give way to at a roundabout.

“They are very simple questions that would at least make people realise that we do have laws and that they need to do something about them,” he said.

Mr Purcell said also suggested an investigation into the measures in place in New Zealand.

He said international licence holders were involved in 3.46 per cent of all reported crashes in 2017 and 21 per cent of crashes along the Great Ocean Road from July 2012 to June 2017 were caused by international licence holders.

“The statistics point out that international drivers are a danger on our roads,” Mr Purcell said.

He said the length of the trip along the Great Ocean Road often resulted in driver fatigue.

“Many of the tourists who do the trip along the Great Ocean Road find they get six to eight hours into their trip and would prefer to stay, but because they have booked their accommodation they find they need to get to their accommodation as quickly as possible,” Mr Purcell said.

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Samantha Dunn said the state of Victorian roads was also an issue.

“What’s Mr Purcell’s motion does not address, although I am sure he is very conscious of this, is the main cause of vehicular accidents in regional Victoria is the parlous state of our country roads,” she said.

“The Premier needs to cancel the West Gate tunnel and the north-east link and instead devote some of the saved billions to fixing the parlous state of our country roads.”

She also added weight to Mr Purcell’s plan to look into the system in place in New Zealand.

“Some rental car companies will also give you a discount on the cost of car rental or the cost of ancillary charges at least equivalent to the cost of the completion certificate,” Ms Dunn said.

Shadow Minister for Roads David Hodgett said he was open to looking at additional measures to better educate our international visitors when it comes to road safety.

“But we have to get the balance right in terms of not punitively discouraging people from going out and exploring regional Victoria,” Mr Hodgett said.