Rental car drivers to receive safety warnings

The safety messages will initially be in English, but NZTA would look at adding other languages if the trial was successful. Photo / iStock
The safety messages will initially be in English, but NZTA would look at adding other languages if the trial was successful. Photo / iStock

Rental cars will be fitted with technology that will enable safety messages to be beamed directly to their drivers in a new trial launched today.

The initiative will see messages sent from roadside transmitters along the key route between Christchurch and Queenstown.

The safety messages will initially be in English, but NZTA would look at adding other languages if the trial was successful.

It comes after a spate of devastating crashes involving tourist drivers on New Zealand's roads and calls for more to be done.

Up to 50 GO Rentals vehicles will be fitted with the devices, which will transmit up to 70 audio messages ranging from reminders about road conditions and road rules, to suggestions about good places to break the journey and travel times.

The initiative was launched by Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Minister Crag Foss today.

Mr Bridges said if the trial was successful, the initiative may continue along the route and be implemented in other parts of New Zealand.

"The New Zealand-designed transmitters are in remote locations where there is no mobile coverage. This feature, and the use of Bluetooth technology, makes the trial the first of its kind in New Zealand for in-vehicle messaging."

The trial is being run by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), in partnership with HMI Technologies and GO Rentals.

Mr Foss said while the trial did not not specifically target visiting drivers, NZTA would assess whether the service could be added to its suite of safety measures.

"This technology has the potential to improve safety outcomes in remote locations, which are draw-cards for many overseas visitors.

"If the trial is successful, a second step could be to create a mobile phone application that allows communication with the vehicle's internal audio system, making the initiative more accessible to all road users."

- NZ Herald

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