Editorial: V plate won't solve issue

By Katie Shevlin

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Rhys Middleton.
Rhys Middleton.

Tauranga man Rhys Middleton was tragically killed in February when his motorbike collided with a car a tourist was driving.

His mother has now launched a campaign for cars driven by overseas visitors to display V plates with the reasoning that "the public will be aware that these are overseas drivers and take care".

The probability that V plates would make tourists a target for thieves aside, I don't think V plates are a good idea because they are unlikely to reduce the likelihood of a crash happening.

It comes down to each individual's driving abilities and a V plate would therefore be inconsequential.

Fortunately for us Brits, we are used to driving on the left side of the road, which makes it much easier to adapt to driving on New Zealand roads.

A visitor from France, for example, where they drive on the right, may not be able to adapt so quickly.

But again, a good driver from France may have less trouble than a bad driver from the UK. It's all relative.

This is why I think that, as well as wearing a V plate, visitors who want to drive here - regardless of how long they are staying, be it a week, month or year - should undertake a compulsory driving lesson.

It would act as a sort of warm-up session, where tourists could acclimatise themselves to the roads and be informed about the laws here, which may differ to those at home.

Overseas drivers are involved in a small percentage of crashes here - a 2015 Ministry of Transport report shows that during the period 2010 to 2014, 5.7 per cent of crashes with fatalities and injuries involved overseas licence holders - but anything that can be done to reduce the number should be.

I'm sure that visitors would understand and some may even be grateful for the driving lesson.

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