Iceland Mag

11 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Crime

Police has charged ten travelers for criminal off-road driving in S. Iceland since June

By Staff

  • A trip that will live in infamy The unforgiving reaction of locals to the shameless and criminal off-road driving by a group of French travelers reminds us that fines are not the only form of punishment meted out to visitors who believe they are excempt from the law and common courtesy. Photo/Páll Gíslason

The Icelandic Environment Agency has referred ten cases of criminal off-road driving to the Police in South Iceland. Numerous other cases have been reported to Police authorities in other parts of Iceland. The culprits are primarily foreign travelers who claim ignorance of the law as their defense. 

Read more: From the editor: Don't traðka on the moss!

A spokesman for the Environment Agency told the National Broadcasting Service that education is the best way to combat off-road driving. In most cases, he argues, travelers who are fined for off-road driving had not intended do destroy vegetation or damage the land they were driving over. Foreign travelers usually fail to realize how fragile the vegetation is and are frequently ignorant about the law. Higher fines for off-road driving are another effective tool to combat off-road driving, the Minister of Tourism has argued. 

The ten cases that have been referred to the Police in South Iceland include two cases of off-road driving in Dyrhóley peninsula, seven cases in the Fjallabak nature reserve and the case of a group of French travelers who found their way into local media after getting their vehicles stuck in mud while tearing up vegetation near Kerlingarfjöll mountain range in the Central Highlands.

Fines are not the only form of punishment
The case of a group of French "adventurers" reminds us that heavy fines are not the only punishment off-roading drivers can expect: Anyone caught driving off-road can expect public humiliation and public shaming.

Read more: "Adventurers" seeking untouched beauty of highlands leave destruction, incur hatred of locals

We at Iceland Magazine would like to add that the French travelers who were caught driving off-road in the Central Highlands got off easy. Fifty years ago Ómar Ragnarsson, who is one of Iceland's most loved TV personalities, the author of countless documentaries and broadcast stories about Icelandic nature and landscape engaged in illegal off-road driving near the location where the French adventurers left a trail of destruction. Today, half a century later, Ómar is still regularly reminded that as a young man he tore up the Highlands, leaving tracks which are still visible. 

Icelanders take the protection of their nature very seriously, and they can hold a grudge for a long time

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