Kiwis demand tourists to carry a T-Plate

Kiwis demand tourists to carry a T-Plate

New Zealand is a beautiful country that attract visitors from all over the world, many of which embark on road trips to explore the islands. Apparently, most tourist drivers are terrible, and thus locals have come up with a new plan for dealing with them.

The high rate of road accidents involving drivers from foreign countries have driven Kiwis to support a campaign calling for tourists to drive with “T-plates” on their rental cars.

The mastermind behind the “T-Plates for Tourist” movement said tourists should have to pass a test before they can drive on New Zealand's challenging, distracting and often tricky terrain.

“People who come to this country are given the right to drive despite many of them not knowing our driving rules or regulations - hence the number of crashes that occur on our roads,” the man named Josh stated, founder of the movement.

“I think there should be a test for tourists to sit like our learners test that is compulsory for anyone who wants to drive in this country,” he stated. “Following passing this test they could receive a T-plate which would allow other drivers to know the dangers.”

The campaign has increased its influence online. Its Facebook page which has attracted more than 3000 followers, while its website features a petition urging the New Zealand government to introduce a T-plate system.

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, foreign drivers contribute to about six per cent of all crashes resulting in injury or death. This figure seems disproportionately high as tourists only make up one per cent of all road traffic in the country.

This ratio becomes more dramatic in popular travel destinations on the South Island, where overseas drivers make up a quarter or more of all road crashes.

The main causes of crashes are drivers losing control or drivers not being familiar with New Zealand's road rules and conditions.

Although some people might quickly blame tourists from countries that drive on the right side of the road, unlike New Zealand, Australian and British are among the top three worst offenders.

In 2015, eight people were killed in tourist crashes in one tragic fortnight in New Zealand, which caused national outrage. Ever since, the proposal for T-plates - to alert local drivers to the foreigner - have increasingly gained support across the country.

“New Zealand's terrain and roads are unlike anywhere else int he world,” Wellington man Jacob Hattersley stated in support of the proposal. “This, combined with the prospect and perception of space, beauty and a largely insouciant attitude, has blinded many tourists when travelling across our country.

“It seems highly illogical that the country imposes a three-tier licensing system that governs the New Zealand public, yet very few measures are imposed upon those unfamiliar with the land.”

The country's rental vehicle and tourism groups developed las year a code of practice that would better screen tourists who wanted to drive a rented vehicle in New Zealand. The initiative included asking said tourists if they were familiar wit local road rules before they had access to driving a car.

In fairness to tourist drivers, some of New Zealand's road rules are famous for being tricky. Until recently, the country had a “ridiculous” road rule that constantly tripped up tourists on New Zealand roads at the time it tripped up New Zealand drivers in other countries.

The rule stated that drivers turning left had to give way to oncoming vehicles turning right into the same road. This tricky rule is in the least partially blamed for over 2000 crashes, resulting in one or two fatalities, in New Zealand every year.

The number of accidents prompted the New Zealand government to reverse the rule by giving left-turners right of way in 2012.