Police nab tourists behaving badly

A 39-year-old Indian man on his honeymoon caught using binoculars and taking photos while driving was just one of two Indian honeymooners stopped for alleged dangerous driving over the weekend, police say.

Head of Cromwell police, Sergeant Simon Paget, said complaints about the driving of tourists were common and an ongoing problem in the area while Queenstown police also reported an increasing trend.

Sgt Paget said his staff dealt with an almost continual stream of such incidents.

The Indian man using binoculars and taking photos was stopped between Tarras and Bendigo at 12.45pm on Sunday and fined about $500.

The other Indian honeymooner, a 29-year old man, was stopped about the same time after three different calls to police about his driving in that same area.

He was charged with dangerous driving, forbidden to drive and is due to appear in court on Monday.

Queenstown Senior Constable Chris Blackford said complaints were received of the 29-year old man driving over the centre line and of his ''general bad, bad, bad driving''.

Sgt Paget said some of the driving behaviour of tourists witnessed by police was incredibly dangerous and put the rest of the driving public at risk.

''The problem is, we are tied to legislation. If we charge them with careless driving we can't arrest or detain them [and can only fine them] and often they are flying out of the country the next day.

''It's absolutely more tourists than locals. Locals still do it [drive dangerously] but the majority are foreign tourists ... [their] driving skills are really quite lacking, they've never driven on roads like we have; it's quite a challenging environment.''

He said the number of such complaints had stimulated an initiative between police and car rental companies.

When the driving of a tourist was considered to be a serious risk, police would contact the rental car companies and get the rental contract cancelled.

Queenstown Senior Sergeant John Fookes said figures show in recent months the Queenstown police station received more calls from the public over ''poor and dangerous driving''.

''More often or not they involve rental cars; rental cars driven by overseas drivers.''

He said reports of negligent foreign drivers had increased over the past 12 months around the Queenstown Lakes area and police encouraged these call-ins from the general public as it helped to know where and when these drivers were on the road.

Sgt Paget also encouraged people to report any dangerous driving by cellphone via *555.

He also said any fine notices incurred by tourists could be posted to an overseas address.

Earlier on Sunday morning police received a call from a member of the public about a group driving dangerously at the Queenstown Airport. On Saturday, a 27-year-old Canadian man was dealt with by police after complaints about his alleged dangerous driving near Queenstown. He was issued with an infringement notice.

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