New Zealand has a big problem with tourist drivers — and locals have come up with a new plan for dealing with them.
Fed up with a high rate of road accidents involving drivers from foreign countries, Kiwis are throwing their support behind a campaign calling for tourists to drive with “T-plates” on their rental cars.
The campaign’s Facebook page has attracted more than 3000 followers and a petition has started up on its dedicated website urging the New Zealand government to introduce a T-plate system.
The founder of the “T-Plates for Tourists” movement said “tourists should have to pass a test before they can drive on New Zealand’s challenging, distracting and often unforgiving terrain. I think there should be a test for tourists to sit like our learners test that is compulsory for anyone who wants to drive in this country. Following passing this test they could receive a T-plate which would allow other drivers to know the dangers.”
According to the latest data from the New Zealand Transport Agency, foreign drivers contribute to about six per cent of all crashes resulting in injury or death — even though tourists are estimated to make up just one per cent of all road traffic in the country.
The top two causes of crashes are drivers losing control or drivers not being familiar with New Zealand’s road rules and conditions.
And if you think the blame lies mostly with tourists from countries that drive on the right side of the road, unlike New Zealand where they drive on the left, you’d be wrong. Australian and British tourists are among the top three worst offenders.
Kiwis say their landscape is too tough and distracting for foreign drivers to handle.