Foreign tourists drive Fraser Island’s 4WD crash numbers up


An overseas tourist was behind the wheel in almost half the serious four-wheel-drive accidents on Fraser Island beaches between 2003 to 2007, statistics reveal.

Queensland Transport is part-way through a review of driver behaviour on Fraser Island beaches after three overseas tourist deaths this year involving four-wheel-drives.

In 19 of the 40 serious beach driving accidents on the island between 2003 and 2007, the driver held an international licence.

John Sinclair, from the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, said he was not surprised by the statistics and actually thought the proportion of international drivers would have been higher.

“A person currently can get a licence to drive a little Citroen in France and the next week present that licence to a hire company in Queensland to hire a troopie to drive around 11 people,” he said.

Mr Sinclair said there needed to be tougher regulations on who could take four-wheel-drives to Fraser Island.

He said it should be up to the Department of Environment and Resource Management to decide who could drive on Fraser Island and who could not.

“All of these accidents have happened in the easier parts of Fraser Island to drive on, but to just travel on the beach requires skill and being able to ‘read’ the beach and you don’t get that on your first visit,” Mr Sinclair said.

“(DERM) could restrict visitors to Fraser Island to those who can show they have competency.

“They should have to present [a] log book to show they’ve been to Fraser Island at least twice before and/or they’ve had other experience driving four-wheel-drives that gives them that degree of competency.”

RACQ and Four Wheel Drive Queensland have also signalled tougher questions on driver competency.

The Queensland Transport statistics show three of the five people who have been killed in four-wheel-drive accidents on the island in the past five years had been international visitors.

Three of the five were passengers, one was a driver, and the third was a pedestrian.

The statistics came to light a day after a Japanese tourist, 25, died on Sunday after the four-wheel-drive in which he was a passenger swerved to either avoid waves or deviations in the sand near the Dundubara Camping Ground.

On April 18 this year, a 26-year-old Italian tourist and a 22-year-old British man were killed when the troop carrier they hired rolled, also near Dundubara Camping Ground.