Safer Journeys launches visiting drivers project

Signage installed as part of the Visiting Drivers Project.

Safer Journeys has recently launched its summer campaign called the Visiting Drivers Project. 

“The purpose of this project is to improve road safety for, and of, visiting drivers, while maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as an attractive and safe tourist destination. The project has an on-the-ground focus in Otago, Southland and the West Coast but many of the initiatives also benefit all visitors to New Zealand and other road users,” said Safer Journeys. 

“Generally regions with high tourist numbers and smaller local populations have a greater proportion of crashes involving overseas drivers.”

Data from the Ministry of Transport indicates that Westland, Queenstown Lakes and Southland have overseas drivers involved in between 23–43 percent of all crashes.

Between 2013 and 2017,  the six most frequently listed nationalities of drivers involved in fatal and injury crashes in New Zealand were (in order from most to least): China (385), Australia (359), Germany (322), India (269), UK (237) and the USA (230). Combined, these six countries contribute over half (57 percent) of the overseas drivers in crashes. However, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of total visitors to New Zealand come from these countries. Over these five years (2013-17), visitor numbers from China increased by 83 percent, Australia by 21 percent, Germany by 50 percent, India by 98 percent, UK by 30 percent and the USA by 64 percent.

Media manager Frances Adank of NZ Transport Agency said, “There is an array of material appearing on the back of coaches and trucks, at digital screens in petrol stations, in public toilets, on roadside billboards and at key airports for international arrivals to help keep visitors and all road users safe on our highways and local roads.”

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