South Island killing fields

The stats are sobering…

Foreign drivers have been responsible for one in every 12 fatal crashes in the South Island during the past decade.

Figures from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) were released yesterday amid calls for greater safety measures after a spate of fatal crashes and arrests for careless driving involving tourists this year.

Between 2005 and 2014, foreign licence holders were at fault or partly at fault in 85.3 per cent of all crashes they were involved in on New Zealand roads, and in the South Island that figure climbed to 87.5 per cent.

Associate transport minister Craig Foss said yesterday that he had asked officials to fast-track work to implement more rumble strips, signage and improve lay-bys and hasten a research programme into visiting drivers, launched last April.

Some of our families pay a high price to allow tourism to operate in such an unrestricted was as to send people totally unsuitable for our roads off on a killing spree. ?And those are just the fatals – how many injuries and write-offs are there? ??

In the latest case of careless driving involving a tourist, a 36-year-old Chinese man was charged with dangerous driving after crossing the centre line and forcing two oncoming drivers to take evasive action near Queenstown. Another Chinese driver, aged 42, was fined and had his rental contract cancelled after he drove the wrong way around two roundabouts in Frankton on Tuesday.

A “blacklist” pilot project to stop tourist drivers whose rental contracts are cancelled from re-hiring has been given the go ahead in Queenstown.

The Rental Vehicle Association endorsed the “shared information network”, involving 20 rental firms in the resort town, which would ensure people who had vehicles taken off them could not “go down the road and rent another”, chief executive Barry Kidd said.

“After three or so months we will review it, see what’s working and make an assessment. We’re doing as much as we can,” he said

As much as they can? ? I don’t think that’s fair. ?I think the rental companies aren’t squealing about losing business, so the balance of “doing as much as we can” doesn’t appear to be on the side of road safety.

What would we do if one in 12 murders were committed by tourists?

 

– Myles Hume, Nicole Mathewson, The Press

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