Four Wheel Drivers

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

Harold says “there is no doubt, the community generally does not like large four wheel drives”Terry Machin are you arrogant and aggressive? “No laughing, no not at all, if they decide to move out when they haven't got vision that's hardly the fault of the four wheel drive” Four wheel drives are built tough enough, and big enough, to go off the road, many drivers wish they'd stay there. Many drivers feel they've taken road 'rage' to a whole new level. and this is the sort of behaviour causing four wheel drive fury. Green light means go, right? No matter how big your car is. Well, the inconsiderate driver of this cruiser thinks otherwise. He stops in the middle of the lights. Turns right, crosses a lane of traffic, into the path of another four wheel drive...then tries to overtake the car already waiting. Harold Scruby says “many people seem to think they're very safe in these vehicles and therefore the road rules don't apply to them”

Harold Scruby from the Australian Pedestrian Council, according to Harold four wheel drivers act like they own the road. Look at this one...blocking the traffic...big deal? “It goes with a certain character, personality type and as such they care less about their fellow human beings” If a recent survey of drivers by car insurer AAMI is any indication, Harold reckons he's not alone in his opinion. “70% of Australians think 4 wheel drive owners are arrogant and aggressive”

Take this 'King of the Road' for example. Talk about pushy. it's a busy intersection, yet they make an illegal U turn anyway. Harold Scuby says “while lots of other motorists do that too, but they're so big that if they do end up hitting another vehicle the potential for harm is magnified many times”

“Some say they're big bullies driving big cars barging their way in. Minority surely. I haven't seen it on the roads“enthusiast Terry Machin says he's sick of four wheel drivers being unfairly targeted. “I have not seen it, Truly? I have not seen it, I've seen lots of pretty young 16 year olds in their little excels cutting me off but I have not seen any intimidation from four wheel drives” Terry argues it's the driver, not the car which is a problem. but he does concede it can be difficult to see past big four wheel drives

“A considerate four wheel driver will know his vehicle is so big and hold back to let the other vehicle have vision down a T junction or whatever” For that reason, Terry reckons they should have special training. “I would like to see training courses for 4 wheel drives with every four wheel drive sold personally” Critics say that's not going far enough. Harold says “all four wheel drivers who drive vehicles over 2 tonne should have to sit a special licence”

Terry Machin says “we think there are other ways of doing...but if you agree you need special training, then surely you agree you need a special licence? No I don't think they need special training I think they're I think the driving of their vehicle would improve if they took the training“To force four wheel drivers to sit a licence would be discrimination in Terry's book. He reckons they'd be better off with a safety campaign paid by you. “If the State Government sponsors adds saying if your driving a 4 wheel drive and your in this situation you should stay now you want small car drivers to pay for it...that's what we pay our taxes for”

Richard Jois says “I think there's people who shouldn't be driving any vehicle full stop” Now, Main Road's Richard Jois says there's no evidence to suggest four wheel drives cause any more crashes than other cars.” They're no worse than any other vehicle on the road, but you get a bad driver behind the wheel of a four wheel drive and yes we have got problems on our road” One thing all agree on, the damage done by a four wheel drive can be greater.

Harold Scruby says “I think they're the only weapons of mass destruction that George Bush has ever been able to find.” With a little patience Terry's hopeful we can all learn get along, your not gonna ban the buses your not gonna ban the trucks you know if you got a vehicle blocking your vision, yes it is dangerous, but you hold back a little and when you can, get round it.

For more details

WA 4 Wheel Drive Association