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Parks and police to target West Coast off-road drivers

25/11/2009


Off-road drivers on remote West Coast beaches and tracks can expect close attention from authorities in the coming months.

Popular destinations such as the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area are being patrolled by Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Tasmania Police officers in an attempt to reduce the number of serious vehicle accidents, particularly those involving off-road motorcycles and all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Unlicensed drivers and riders, and unregistered vehicles are being targeted, with an emphasis on responsible vehicle use in remote areas.

 According to Stuart Lennox, PWS Northwest Region acting manager, the problem is not a new one.

 “We’ve recently seen figures that suggest that the 50 or so kilometres of track and beach driving between Arthur River and Sandy Cape is one of the most high-risk stretches anywhere in the State for motor vehicle crashes,” Mr Lennox said.

 In the past five years alone there have been more than 34 serious injuries in the conservation area reported to police, most involving incidents with off-road motorcycles and ATVs.

Authorities are also concerned with the high number of people – including children and youths – who operate vehicles in remote areas without a driver’s licence.

 “These people risk not being covered by MAIB insurance in the event of an injury, as well as an infringement notice or prosecution. No license or no registration essentially means no cover,” warned Mr Lennox.

Drivers planning to head off-road in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area are reminded that they need a permit and map showing approved routes, available from PWS staff at Arthur River.

 “The Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area has significant natural and Aboriginal heritage values that are at risk from inappropriate vehicle use,” Mr Lennox said.

 “The approved vehicle routes have been designed to minimise threats to these values, so we ask that people respect these values with appropriate behaviour.”

Further information about off-road driving in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area is available from the Arthur River Field Centre on 6457 1225.