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The Ministry of Transport is looking at road quality, driver education, and information available to tourists, after a series of high profile crashes involving tourists.

The west coast of the South Island has the highest proportion of foreign driver involved crashes in the country. District mayor, Mike Havill, says the figures do not surprise him because his region is a major destination for tourists, yet its roads are narrow and challenging.

Some drivers say they avoid the top of the South Island in tourist season, and in early January a member of the public confiscated the keys of a tourist driving on the Lindis Pass after they narrowly avoided a head-on crash.

However, others say it is unfair to blame tourists for the problems on our roads, and that it is 'hype' because they get a higher profile than accidents involving locals.

Ministry of Transport figures show the 11 regions with the highest proportion of road crashes involving overseas drivers are all in the South Island.

Roading authorities are defending their work educating overseas drivers despite the recent spate of accidents. Calls for tourists to have a test before they are allowed to drive were rejected by The Automobile Association says it is not practical saying a theory test was unlikely to help much anyway as visitors know New Zealand drives on the left. "We think that physical interventions on the road, as well as making sure that visitors are in the safest car they can possibly get, are the keys to the problem here."

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