Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Crime

Two American men fined for off-road driving near Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon

By Staff

  • At the scene The police stopped the men when they were returning to the parking lot, had a word with them and fined them for their behaviour. Photo/Ólafur B. Schram

Police in South Iceland had a word with two American men who were caught driving off-road near Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon in South Iceland. When confronted by a local tour guide the men were surprised anyone would make an issue of their off-roading, and said they had no idea they were engaged in illegal activity.

Needless and illegal off-road driving
A local tour guide Ólafur B. Schram noticed a 4x4 parked on the sand some 250 meters (820 ft) from the large parking lot located by the visitor center at the lagoon. The car had been driven beyond the parking lot in the direction of Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon. Fjallsárlón is inside Vatnajökull National Park, located to the west of Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. 

Read more: Photos: estructive and criminal off-road driving a serious and growing problem

Ólafur told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that there seemed to be absolutely no reason for the driver of the car to have driven off-road:

"We were sitting in the café by Fjallsárlón, and I notice this car parked outside any track or road, just 250 meters from a 500 car parking lot. We thought this was a bit strange, and couldn't understand why the driver had decided to go off-road to save himself a 250 meter walk."

Claimed they didn't know they had broken the law
Ólafur walked up to the car to check why it was parked where it was, and discovering the vehicle empty he waited unti the driver returned. Shortly thereafter the driver and a passenger returned, two American men. "They got up into the car and drove over the moss fields back onto the parking lot. They seemed genuinely baffled that anyone would see a reason to comment upon their behavior."

In a post on Facebook Ólafur added that the two men said nobody had told them it was not ok to drive off road in Iceland, an excuse he says is ridiculous, as he contacted the car rental:

"What utter nonsense, stupidity and disrespect! I have learned, from a conversation with the manager of the car rental where the two men rented their vehicle that when they were handed the key to the car they were informed of all traffic laws in Iceland, including the ban on off-road driving. At the time I was unable to expose the lies of driver, but it is clear that the rental car agency is not responsible for the criminal behavior of the driver."

Fined by the Police
Ólafur called Park Rangers who were too busy to respond, but the Police in South East Iceland showed up at the scene and had a word with the two travellers, explaining to them that they were engaged in illegal off-roading inside a National Park. The two travellers were fined for their behavior.

Read more: Tourist fined 150,000 ISK for destructive off-road idiocy

The fine for off-road driving can range from 60,000 ISK to 700,000 ISK, depending on the severity of the incidence. Most fines for criminal off-road driving are 100,000 to 200,000 ISK.

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