A broad package of initiatives designed to improve the safety of visiting drivers, and those they share the road with, is well underway.
The Visiting Drivers Project is delivering road safety programmes aimed at each stage of a visitor’s holiday – when they’re planning their trip, booking it, in-flight, arriving in New Zealand, and when they are driving on our roads.
Pre-departure initiatives include Tourism New Zealand’s road safety training module for overseas travel agents to help them better inform their clients about alternative travel options and what to expect if they choose to drive in New Zealand, and making changes to Google Maps travel times to be more reflective of our roads.
Air New Zealand has created a ‘Driving in New Zealand’ app which is available on long-haul flights and it’s screening videos on driving in New Zealand, in a range of languages, on all international flights.
On arrival, rental vehicle operators and accommodation providers are the face-to-face points of contact. Initiatives already rolled out include a Code of Practice for rental vehicle operators, which recommends a range of activities including enhanced checks when people are renting vehicles, and providing safety information in vehicles.
In Otago and Southland 50 kilometres of rumble strips are being added, along with 950 kilometres of highway marked with ‘keep left’ arrows, 140 kilometres of ‘no-passing’ markings and 16 traffic courtesy signs to encourage slower drivers to let traffic pass.
NZ Police will have a visible presence on certain key tourist routes.
“People make mistakes, whether they’re from New Zealand, or overseas. Our challenge with this project is to design the ‘system’ with our tourism partners to protect all road users so that if they make a mistake the chance of them being killed or seriously injured is significantly reduced,” says the NZ Transport Agency’s Jim Harland.