Drunk dad lets 12yo boy drive

Rodney Edward Whitbread
Rodney Edward Whitbread

IMAGINE seeing a 12-year-old boy driving a Toyota troop carrier.

It would almost be comical, if it wasn't so dangerous.

Throw into the mix an alcohol-affected dad riding shotgun, a brother without a seatbelt and instead of a smooth roadway, the vehicle is travelling on sand on Fraser Island.

Now you've got all the ingredients for a "major catastrophe".

This is how police described the actions of Canberra man Rodney Edward Whitbread, who'd had a few beers when he allowed his 12-year-old son to take the wheel on Fraser Island's Eastern Beach on January 19.

His other son, 14, was in the back seat without a seatbelt.

State traffic branch police witnessed the four-wheel drive travelling past them with its child driver about 1.35pm.

There was no mention in court of how fast the vehicle was going, but the speed limit on that stretch of beach is believed to be 80kmh.

Whitbread, 49, had an alcohol content of .113.

He told police he had brought his sons up from the ACT for a holiday on Fraser Island and thought he would teach them how to drive because the weather had been too poor to go fishing.

Sergeant Tony McCarthy, head of the Maryborough Police Traffic Branch, said with an inexperienced and unlicensed driver at the wheel on difficult terrain, a supervising driver affected by alcohol and a passenger without a seatbelt, it wouldn't take much for the situation to turn deadly.

"The ingredients are there for a major catastrophe," Sgt McCarthy said.

"People go to Fraser Island in holiday mode, but this doesn't relieve them of driving within the road rules."

Sgt McCarthy said conditions on the island could be treacherous and he'd even seen experienced drivers roll their vehicles on that notorious stretch of beach.

Whitbread yesterday pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to drink-driving, permitting someone to drive unlicensed and failing to ensure a child aged between 7-16 was wearing a seatbelt.

He was fined $750 and disqualified from driving for two months.

Topics:  alcohol dangerous driving drink-driving fraser island hervey bay magistrates court

Turnbull! It's time to stand up for regional Australia

We're hoping this cartoon gets your attention Mr Turnbull! Artwork: Peter Broelman

It's time for Turnbull to prove he'll stand for regional Australia

Savios' spotless apple plan

FRESH TECHNOLOGY: Henry Zhang and Rosie Savio with the blemish-detecting technology for apples at Ms Savio's Pozieres farm.

Tech trials help to banish bruises on crisp apples

Freight boost for produce

INNOVATIVE PACKAGING: The iceless box technology allows vegetables to stay fresh during freight to overseas countries and reduces the cost of freighting.

Technology helps boost transport life Granite Belt produce

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Events you need to be at this week...

Some Australian sevens rugby squad members will be in Warwick this weekend.

It won't be all rodeo in Warwick this weekend

He's here for the Melbourne Cup of campdrafting

David Thorn from Cootamundra on Oh How Foxy.

David Thorn is here to make the most of the Warwick Rodeo.

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Trump 'worked like hell' to pick up John Travolta's wife

John Travolta and Kelly Preston

Trump wrote comments in tribute to Travolta's son Jett

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E11 - top three battle it out

The Bachelorette finalists, from left, Matty Johnson, Lee Elliott and Jake Ellis.

It's Matty, Lee or Jake. Who will Georgia choose?

Jake left broken-hearted by Bachelorette break-up

Jake Ellis is one of the final three bachelors on The Bachelorette.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and Matty J as her final two suitors.

MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange is out there in a good way

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S new superhero takes viewers along on his mind trip.

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher sequel falls flat

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

THE film's title Never Go Back should serve as a warning to fans.

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June