Lavers Hill police officer Ray Doensen says pamphlets with road safety advice for visitors to the Otways are a “great start” to reducing crashes and near-misses.
But while Leading Senior Constable Doensen has been delivering the State Government hand-outs to local tourist operators along the Great Ocean Road, he says he would like to see them “everywhere” to make sure the messages get to visitors before they take on the iconic tourist route.
“The Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful, scenic parts of Australia but also one of the hardest drives,” he said.
“It’s suggested that it’s a three-hour drive from Melbourne to the Twelve Apostles, and you could do it in that time but when you throw in stops for photos, slow traffic and the fact that most people aren’t used to the road, it’s much longer.
“I travel the road every day and it’s hard even if you know the road,” Sen Const Doensen said.
“And it’s not just international tourists who find it tough, most of the traffic is tourists who might be second-generation Australians but who just aren’t used to Otway roads.”
After four-and-a-half years at the Lavers Hill station, Sen Const Doensen said he thought summer on the ridge was probably not as busy as it had been in the past, but the all-year-round traffic had increased dramatically, along with the need to address road safety.
“I intercept a lot of drivers and when you ask them what happened they’ll say ‘I didn’t see the sign’ which is an obvious sign of fatigue,” he said.
“They are trying to do the trip in a day or they’re travelling with friends and one vehicle’s got ahead and they’re trying to catch up with them.
“They’re acting in a fatigued manner or they’re in a hurry.”
Sen Const Doensen said he believed the new pamphlets aimed at improving safety were a great initiative and business owners such as Lavers Hill shop owner Paul Yates had welcomed the bi-lingual pamphlets.
Mr Yates, who had previously told the Herald that it was time all levels of government started focusing on improving the experience for tourists in the Otways, said the pamphlets were a positive step towards helping visitors stay safe on the roads.
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.