New plan could make Fraser Island 4WDing much safer

TRAGEDY: At least one tourist died and seven were injured after this four-wheel drive crashed on Fraser Island in October last year. A new study hopes to help create a new approach to driving safely on the island.
TRAGEDY: At least one tourist died and seven were injured after this four-wheel drive crashed on Fraser Island in October last year. A new study hopes to help create a new approach to driving safely on the island. Racq Careflight

FRASER Island's tragic beach driving past will pave the way for a ground-breaking approach to lowering off-road deaths.

With four deaths and 160 crashes involving 4WDs since 2002, the island has a shocking history when it comes to motoring safety.

University of the Sunshine Coast researcher Dr Nicholas Stevens hopes to change that with his ground-breaking three-year plan to make 4WDing safer.

Dr Stevens said the project would use a whole of community approach to create a government-backed set of standards for off-road driving.

Anyone with a regular licence can drive on the beach at up to 80kmh and police can enforce speeding and alcohol and drug laws.

"The beach is a really complex environment to drive on," Dr Stevens said.

"You can only drive two hours either side of low tide, it's got washouts and creeks all the way through it, it's got pedestrians across it, it's got fishermen on it, it's got shipwrecks, it's the island's airstrip - so while they are treating it like a regular road through enforcement and regulation it's nothing like a regular road."

"How could we manage it? How should we understand it?"

Dr Stevens said the aim was to look at every aspect of beach driving.

"Our view is that it's not just the driver's fault, there is a range of causational factors that have led to that accident happening across a range of different areas," he said.

"We expect that at a whole range of levels, both government and policy, right to day-to-day management of the beach, there will be changes that could be made to make it safer."

Dr Stevens has hopes the end result will influence off-road areas worldwide.

"About 75% of the world's roads are unsealed roads so this research can really have an impact - especially in poorer countries," he said.

"Can we make their roads safer without putting in a set of traffic lights or without paving them - because that is not a solution."


Topics:  fraser island outdoor-living

EVENT ALERT: WetSide's Light Show to change for a night

WetSide Water Education Park in Pialba. Photo Gary Crockett

It'll still be on, just a different time.

Annual show by Maryborough bass band a hit

Power Brass Showcase by Maryborough Excelsior City Band - Steve Moulds on euphonium.

It was the annual Power Brass Showcase.

UPDATE: Victim "taunted" attacker before Mundubbera stabbing

Shaun William Dennison stabbed a man in the neck, arm in public.

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals