Safer roads for all

March 6, 2015

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has announced the Visiting Drivers Signature Project (VDSP) will be extended and planned safety improvements fast-tracked following recent crashes involving overseas visitors.

“The Government recognises that many people are concerned with poor driving behaviour on challenging roads in and around popular tourist destinations, particularly in the lower South Island,” Mr Foss says.

That is why we are extending the VDSP to include the West Coast — an area that attracts a large number of tourists.

“A range of planned safety improvements on state highways in Otago and Southland will also be fast-tracked for completion by July 1 this year.”

These improvements include an additional:

50km of centre-line ‘rumble strips’
140km of no-passing markings
200km of highway marked with ‘keep left’ arrows
“This work will improve safety for all road users, including the increasing number of overseas visitors choosing to explore our country by car,” Mr Foss says.

The safety improvements announced today will be in addition to a range of measures already in place in Otago and Southland, including 564km of edge-line rumble strips, 1800km of highway marked with ‘keep left’ arrows, 4755 curve warning signs and 165km of safety barriers.

“Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and these tragedies can be prevented by improving safety in every part of the transport system — vehicles, speeds, road users and the roads themselves,” Mr Foss says.

I would also like to see arrows at exits from tourist attractions showing which side of the road drivers should turn on to.

Rental companies need to take more responsibility for people who hire their vehicles.

A Queenstown company has set a good example with an app it will use to screen drivers.

A Queenstown car hire company is taking the unprecedented move of pre-screening foreign drivers.

Wai Hire Cars is launching an app this week to test its customers’ knowledge of the road rules.

Manager Greg Wensley believed rental firms had a “moral responsibility” for basic screening of customers.

“In some [foreign] countries you can essentially just buy a driver’s licence without having to sit tests.

“In these customers’ hands, our rental cars can become deadly weapons.”

Rental Vehicle Association (RVA) chief executive Barry Kidd said Wai’s driver-screening app was the only one in the country he knew of and he applauded the “good idea. . .

These measures will make roads safer for all users.

However, they won’t change the need for drivers to be alert, concentrate on driving, drive to the conditions, obey road rules and be considerate of other drivers.

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