Driver reviver shutdown triggers calls for Queensland roadside trivia boom

Outback travelers and one of Australia’s top quiz masters are calling on the Queensland government to supercharge “fatigue zone trivia” after a controversial decision to ax driver revive sites.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads says it will stop funding all 23 of the state’s government-owned driver to revive sites next year because they no longer meet health and safety regulations.

With the popular coffee, biscuit and chat spots on the way out, some seasoned tourists are crying out for something to fill the gap.

Showing signs of life

Kristy Mills and her husband Brendan are a pair of “full-time travellers” from Western Australia who got their first taste of Queensland’s roadside quiz show after wet weather forced them to detour to Tambo.

The signs are found along select highways across the state, and have a basic but effective premise.

Brendan and Kristy Mills sit in a four-wheel-drive with two working dogs looking over their shoulders.
Brendan and Kristy Mills are on a mission to see as much of Australia as possible.πŸ‡§πŸ‡·SuppliedπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

There’s a trivia question on a sign, and to find out the answer drivers have to keep their eyes peeled for the next sign several kilometers down the track.

Ms Mills said the discovery of highway trivia came like a bolt from the blue.

“At first we thought, are we reading this right?” she said.

“Then the sign with the hint came up and we realized that, yep, we were.

“I was taking photos to show them to everyone back in WA and everyone thought they were great.”

One of Australia’s top quiz masters agreed.

A man in an orange sweater holds a sign that says climate action now
Brydon Coverdale is a big fan of Queensland’s roadside fatigue zone trivia signs. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·SuppliedπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

The Shark jumps on board

Brydon Coverdale cut his teeth by winning more than $300,000 on Million Dollar Minute in 2014, and has since become one of the expert “chasers” on hit TV game show The Chase Australia under the moniker “The Shark”.

“Forget about just [Queensland]I want them in every state in the country,” he said.

“I think good trivia, interesting facts, that’s the sort of thing that really can capture your attention.

Brydon Coverdale appears on The Weakest Link gameshow in 2001.
Brydon Coverdale appeared on Australian gameshow The Weakest Link in 2001, where he finished in second place and missed out on a $30,700 windfall. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·SuppliedπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

“It’s going to make people stay alert.

“And if there’s someone in the car with them, it prompts a bit of discussion trying to come up with an answer.”

Mr Coverdale said he had a couple of ideal questions that could be considered for any expansion of the program.

First up, what’s the shortest state border in Australia?

“It’s actually Victoria and Tasmania, believe it or not,” he said.

“There’s a little island in Bass Strait where the border runs through 80m or something – officially that’s the land border of Victoria and Tassie.

“That’s one of the facts that I just love to roll out.”

His other suggestion β€” Which famous Aussie once owned the same tortoise as Charles Darwin?

An old painting of an old man.
Charles Darwin developed the theory of natural selection as an explanation of evolution. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·Supplied: American Museum of Natural HistoryπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

And yes, that’s Charles Darwin the English naturalist responsible for the theory of evolution by natural selection who died in 1882.

“The answer is Steve Irwin, because these giant tortoises live for so long,” Mr Coverdale said.

“Charles Darwin picked up a giant tortoise on one of his trips.

“It’s ended up, many years and many owners later, at Australia Zoo.”

Harriet the Tortoise died in 2006 at the ripe old age of about 175.

“It just blows your mind doesn’t it?” Mr Coverdale said.

Let’s get quizzical

It’s not just Australians who want the program rolled out further.

Maureen Cameron, who runs a tourism company in Scotland, has just completed a six-month journey around Australia.

It included a 35-day motorhome trip from Sydney to Cape Tribulation and back.

The roadside trivia signs were a revelation.

“Queensland was the best, could of been doing with them on the Port Hedland to Broome stretch in WA,” Mrs Cameron said.

“I was hoping other states might take note, even Scotland and England roads.”

Roadside trivia signs ask In which state is the souther end of the wild dog barrier fence?
Roadside trivia signs are found on several fatigue zones across Queensland.πŸ‡§πŸ‡·SuppliedπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said roadside trivia signs were placed along stretches of the Bruce, Capricorn, Landsborough, Cunningham and New England highways.

“Trivia questions are developed by our district officers and are generally related to Queensland, with a focus on the local area,” he said.

“Be sure to keep a safe eye out for these signs for a little bit of [regulated] fun.

Driver Reviver, websites, Queensland
All 23 Queensland driver revive sites will be shut down.πŸ‡§πŸ‡·ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photoπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

He said it was important to never drive tired or distracted, always stick to the designated speed limit and drive to the conditions.

“We encourage drivers to take a break while driving and to act on any signs of fatigue,” he said.

Unfortunately for the Camerons, the Millses and The Shark, there did not appear to be an appetite for any large-scale boost to the program in light of next year’s driver reviver shutdown.

“Signs on the Bruce Highway between Gympie and Miriam Vale were updated earlier this year,” the spokesman said.

“There are no current plans for further upgrades.”

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