The government values tourist dollars more than human lives

The New Zealand government is directly responsible for ongoing serious accidents involving foreign drivers, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says the government knows perfectly well that many overseas drivers lack the skills or awareness to drive New Zealand roads.

A study of 226 overseas drivers in Queenstown last year showed that just 3% could pass a New Zealand theory test while 15% admitted they weren't sure they could drive safely on New Zealand roads.”

Ministry of Transport figures show that in major tourist districts such as Westland, Queenstown-Lakes and Southland, overseas drivers were involved in between 21–40% of all crashes.”

“Yet the government simply turns a blind eye to all this, because tourism is a major industry. Effectively, the government values tourist dollars more than human lives.”

Matthew-Wilson’s report on tourist accidents recommends a basic competency test for anyone renting a vehicle and also calls for a compulsory stand-down of 24 hours before travellers from overseas are allowed to drive in this country.

“If tourists don’t rest when they first arrive, they are far more likely to have a serious accident. This has happened again and again and again, yet the government still fails to act.”

“It is equally shameful that there is still no effective check on the competence of overseas drivers before they’re allowed to drive in this country.”

“Everyone who rents a car, including locals, should have to pass a 30 second computerised test of alertness, awareness and coordination. The reason the government doesn’t require such a test is because it knows many overseas drivers would fail.”

“It’s totally unacceptable that the government demands high standards of driving from New Zealand drivers, but accepts appallingly low standards of driving from some overseas drivers.”