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Major crackdown on 'irresponsible' acts at Aussie beaches

New fines will cost hundreds of dollars more for Queenslanders committing certain driving offences.

Motorists who break the rules in Queensland parks, forests and beaches will now be hit with significantly higher fines as authorities crack down on offenders.

Up until now, Queenslanders have copped much lower fines for offences committed off-road compared to penalties for the same breaches made on the road, but fines given out by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers will increase by hundreds of dollars for those who take potentially fatal risks.

Left, a 4WD on a Queensland beach. Right, a QPWS ranger giving a fine.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services rangers are cracking down on 'irresponsible' drivers with an increase in fines for offences. Source: Getty and Queensland National Parks

Three driving offences in QPWS areas which all currently carry a $309 fine will increase on September 15 to be the same as road penalties. Improperly wearing a seatbelt will now incur a $1,161 fine, failure to wear a motorbike helmet while riding or as a passenger will cost $464 and driving without due care and attention will be $619.

What has prompted the increase in fines?

The QPWS are making the change in the bid to improve driver behaviour and the safety of visitors in nature areas such as national parks, state forests and recreation areas. Five fatal crashes on beaches overseen by QPWS at Cooloola, K'gari and Bribie Island have occurred since 2013 and several serious vehicle rollovers requiring emergency assistance have occurred this year, with one involving seven teenagers.

Queenslanders have been warned that rangers will not be shy in handing out the new fines to in the hope to deter reckless drivers and hopefully mitigate safety risks.

“While most drivers and riders do the right thing while visiting these places, sadly we have seen the tragic consequences of irresponsible motorists including fatalities and significant injuries," Manager of QPWS Compliance Optimisation Michael Devery said.

“The increased fines might hurt if you get one, but they’re a lot less painful than a vehicle rollover or worse."

“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience on our beautiful beaches, parks and forests, but it’s up to drivers to do the right thing to make this happen.”

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