Ministry of Transport report knocks common myths about visitor drivers in crashes

A US tourist was killed in this road accident near Matamata this month. A report shows short-term visitors crash for the same reasons as New Zealand drivers do.  PHOTO/NZME
A US tourist was killed in this road accident near Matamata this month. A report shows short-term visitors crash for the same reasons as New Zealand drivers do. PHOTO/NZME

More than 300 people died on New Zealand roads last year according to the final road toll for 2015.

The final road toll report was released today along with an Overseas Drivers in Crashes report by the Ministry of Transport.

The toll report showed 320 men, women and children died on our roads in 2015.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said the deaths may have been preventable through actions like always wearing "a safety belt or helmet, watch your speed and drive to the conditions".

"These people will forever be missed by their families, friends and communities, and it's heartbreaking to consider their deaths may have been preventable."

Mr Foss said despite the high number of deaths last year, the long-term road toll was falling.

The road toll report showed between 2001 and 2014, New Zealand's vehicle fleet increased by 32 per cent, the population grew by 16 per cent and travel was up by 15 per cent.

Meanwhile the Overseas Drivers in Crashes report showed the number of crashes involving overseas licence holders - less than 6 per cent of all fatal and injury crashes - had stayed relatively constant over the last 10 years despite the number of international visitors increasing by about 30 per cent.

Mr Foss said the report helped to debunks some common myths, such as visitors, especially those who usually drive on the right-hand side of the road, are crashing because they're tired after long-haul flights.

"The report shows that very few short-term visitors crash within their first few days in New Zealand, and of those that do crash, fatigue is generally not a contributing factor. Overseas licence holders, including short-term visitors, crash for the same reasons as New Zealand drivers."

- NZ Herald

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