A driving instructor from the Far North Queensland town of Port Douglas has started a campaign to make ’T-plates’ compulsory for overseas drivers on Australian roads. 

Fed up with what he reckons is an overwhelming amount of disoriented tourists driving on the wrong side of the road, Stephen Lee has taken it upon himself to do something about the situation, launching a Change.org petition that calls for changes to Australian legislation. 

We have a lot of crashes regularly up here where the overseas drivers don’t understand our road rules — driving on the wrong side of the road, or not understanding roundabouts, intersections,” he told the ABC.

His solution is to make tourists display T-plates in much the same way as P-platers do, thus at least letting others on the road know what they might be in for. He also suggests providing tourist drivers with a handbook of the Australian road rules. 

At the moment, tourists with drivers licences in English are permitted to drive on Australian roads with no further documentation. For those whose licences are in another language, they must have an International Drivers Permit, which they can acquire in their home country. 

Despite Lee’s confidence that it’s those bloody foreigners on our roads making driving to work an obstacle course, only 1.2% of the fatal crashes in Queensland during the period from 2002 to 2011 involved overseas licence holders. 

The Queensland Department of Transport doesn’t think that international drivers are a serious risk to road safety, saying in a statement that “we have no plans to introduce mandatory road rules and practical driving tests for legitimate overseas visitors.

Maybe Lee can focus less on tourists – you know, the people who are responsible for the success of our second-largest industry – and more on the kids he’s supposed to be teaching not to drive at a billion miles over the speed limit

Source: ABC

Image: Auscape / Getty.