Port Campbell police say drivers are playing Russian roulette on Great Ocean Road

The carpark at the Twelve Apostles, where a Chinese national was intercepted by police after crossing double white lines to overtake another vehicle near a blind sweeping crest.  Picture: Amy Paton
The carpark at the Twelve Apostles, where a Chinese national was intercepted by police after crossing double white lines to overtake another vehicle near a blind sweeping crest. Picture: Amy Paton

Update Monday 4.30pm 

The state government has no plans to change the requirements for international drivers following a number of near-misses on the Great Ocean Road in recent days.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the government was already delivering a range of measures to help international visitors travel safely, including a new campaign targeting tourists, multilingual signage and line markings.

Another near-miss with an international driver occurred on the Great Ocean Road on Monday morning, with a Chinese national crossing double white lines to overtake another vehicle near a blind sweeping crest.

The incident comes just days after Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan called on the government to make hire car companies use technology like virtual reality to test for basic skills and understanding of the state’s road rules and conditions.

Mr Riordan said the incident again highlighted the risk some overseas drivers posed.

“People are coming from different countries and they have different driving conditions and different understandings of what safe driving is,” he said. 

“If we are letting an increasing number of people drive around on our roads who say they’ve only been here for two days and they don’t know how to drive, we are asking for trouble.”

Mr Riordan said the push for basic skill testing needed to happen sooner rather than later. 

“The technology already exists, I’ve not only experienced it myself but I’ve also spoken to at least two providers of this type of technology,” he said. 

“We don’t let people go on joy flights in airplanes and we don’t board helicopters to fly overseas without safety videos and instructions, so why are we letting these people on our roads?” 

“We are encouraging a fantastic tourism industry in our region, but the reality is we have a very strong danger point.” 

Mr Donnellan said there were no plans to change the requirements for international drivers. 

He said in 2016, tourist drivers only accounted for 1.7 per cent of all crashes across the state. 

But Mr Riordan said that in the south west, they accounted for about 22 per cent. 

“Something can and should be done,” he said.

“This technology is a smart way to solve a serious problem.”

Mr Donnellan said he would be happy to work with the federal government if it wanted to do more to change the requirements.

Earlier Monday 12pm

Motorists are risking their lives by playing a game of Russian roulette on the Great Ocean Road. 

Another near-miss with an international driver occurred on Monday morning, with a Chinese national crossing double white lines to overtake another vehicle near a blind sweeping crest.

Port Campbell police said a silver Hyundai wagon was travelling east along the Great Ocean Road near the 12 Apostles when it overtook a second vehicle at 10.25am. 

The vehicle crossed double white lines as it approached a blind left hand sweeping crest.

Police intercepted the vehicle after it turned into the Twelve Apostles car park. 

The driver aged in his forties was found with two unrestrained passengers including a three-year-old child who was not in a booster seat. 

Police said the driver stated that he had only been in the country for two days and that he was unfamiliar with the road rules.

He said he overtook on double lines because he did not want to lose the car he was following as he could not work the GPS, and that the child was unrestrained because the rental company did not supply him with a booster seat.

The driver was issued with three penalty notices, including overtaking on double white lines; unrestrained passenger and unrestrained child under 16-years-of-age. 

He was fined a total of $1007 and will lose nine demerit points. 

The incident comes just days after a Chinese driver who failed to give way was caught travelling with an unrestrained two-year-old child and mother who was leaning over to feed the child a bottle, and a Hong Kong national tried to overtake several cars across double lines. 

A spokesperson for Port Campbell police said drivers were playing Russian roulette with their lives.

“They have no concern for the safety of themselves or other road users,” the spokesperson said.

“Please be aware that there are some drivers that take significant risks on our roads, please be vigilant of these drivers and ensure that you report their behaviour to police”.

Anyone with information should call Port Campbell police on 5598 6310 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.