Dangerous tourist drivers whose rental vehicle contracts have been cancelled will be blacklisted in a Queenstown trial to prevent them from getting back behind the wheel.
Rental Vehicle Association (RVA) chairman Barry Kidd met Tourism Industry Association representatives yesterday to discuss how members from both groups and independent rental companies could share information.
A meeting in Queenstown is planned for next month to talk about how the "Shared Information Network" could work, potentially using email and telephones to alert companies to problem drivers.
In August, the Otago Daily Times reported the RVA was investigating establishing the blacklist to remove from the roads drivers deemed unsafe behind the wheel.
At present, tourist drivers deemed unsafe - but who do not meet the criteria required to be charged, enabling police to forbid them to drive - can have their contracts with rental companies cancelled. However, there is nothing stopping them from hiring a vehicle from another firm.
Mr Kidd said there had been concerns that sharing information could breach the Privacy Act; however, that did not appear to be the case.
The RVA had reviewed its contracts and while, on balance, no changes were required, changes had been made to make it "explicit" that information would be provided to other companies.
The blacklist within the region would prevent the highest risk drivers getting behind the wheel of another vehicle, Mr Kidd said.
"We're trying to close the loop.
"These are the people who probably present the greatest risk [on the roads] and we're trying to prevent them from trying to get behind the wheel of another car.
"The immediate risk is ... they'll pick up a rental vehicle somewhere else," he said.
Mr Kidd said the next step would be to engage with all rental companies in the resort town before the trial began.
There was no central reporting for the number of contracts that had been torn up, but anecdotally it happened about twice a week and the majority of the issues appeared to be in Queenstown.
In the latest incident an Indian driver from Australia had his rental contract torn up on Sunday after a member of the public stopped him on the Lindis Pass and took the vehicle's keys after narrowly avoiding a head-on collision.
He was charged with dangerous driving and was summonsed to appear in the Alexandra District Court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a website designed to give visitors information they need to enjoy a safe driving holiday in New Zealand was launched yesterday.
DriveSafe.org.nz, translated into Mandarin and German, was developed by the Tourism Industry Association with support from the New Zealand Transport Agency, RVA and major rental vehicle operators and is one of the initiatives under the Visiting Drivers Signature Project, part of the government's Safer Journeys Action Plan. Translations into more languages are planned.
- Otago Daily Times