A Bundaberg lawyer is calling for holiday-makers hiring four-wheel drives on Fraser Island to undergo defensive driving courses before taking their vehicles on the beach.
Slater and Gordon Senior Associate Juliet Parsons said many of the tourists in the coming months would not have driven a four-wheel drive on the road before, let alone on the beach.
“Inexperienced drivers hiring four-wheel drives on Fraser Island will be at a much greater risk of serious injury in this upcoming holiday period. We are likely to see more people holidaying locally in Queensland over this holiday period. Many won’t have been on the roads driving as frequently as they would have this year, due to COVID-19,” Ms Parsons said.
“The driving conditions are often tougher on the sand when compared to the road and we have already unfortunately seen people die this year after vehicles have rolled.
“This is why drivers would benefit from a short defensive driving course, to know how to drive in varying conditions, how to drive safely on sand, manage speed and drive safely through wash-outs. There will also be people who’ve recently purchased four-wheel drives, taking them on the beach for the first time who could benefit from a short course too.”
Ms Parsons said four-wheel drives had been highly sought after with sales increasing this year and reports of second-hand vehicles selling out, meaning hire vehicles would likely be in demand too, leading to more accidents.
“For people with no experience, driving on sand is dangerous and it should require training. Quite a number of tourists are injured every year in four-wheel drive related driving incidents. On the mainland people get bogged a lot too. It spoils camping trips when accidents like this occur, causing delays and difficulties,” Ms Parsons said.
It’s so easy for drivers to lose control on the sand or difficult terrain and we know that injuries can have a devastating impact on people’s lives.
Ms Parsons said it was important people injured in four-wheel drive accidents were aware of their potential legal entitlements to receive compensation for medical costs, loss of wages and other costs such as physical therapies and home care.