Call for South to be included in road safety measures

Waitaki news
Thursday, June 11, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean wants foreign driver initiatives extended though to cover the Mackenzie District and later, all the South island.

Speaking on the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee's 2011/118 Sean and Cody Roberts petition, Mrs Dean said although the subsequently introduced Visiting Drivers Signature Project (VDSP) strategy appeared to be working well it was now time to introduce the strategy into all parts of the South Island.

"It's operating well here in Otago and Southland but it needs fast-tracking into South Canterbury including the Mackenzie District.

"Towards this I've asked associate Transport Minister Craig Foss to encompass more of the South Island including parts of my own electorate into VDSP," the MP said.

Mrs Dean said the Mackenzie had to be included as it had the dubious distinction of having the second-highest number of regional tourism crashes. "Visiting drivers hire cars from Christchurch and then drive on roads they are completely unfamiliar with and in conditions that leave locals wary. It's as a consequence of this unfamiliarity that the accidents happen," she said.

Mrs Dean also congratulated Geraldine lad Sean Roberts, 10 and his brother Cody, 9, on their 'greatness of spirit' following his father's tragic loss in a foreign visitor related road accident in 2012. "Sean and Cody reacted positively by gathering signatures and later presenting their petition calling for mandatory driver testing on foreigners wanting to hire cars to the select committee.

"Thanks to their commitment I can only think the select committee gave their suggestions priority."

The VDSP, an initiative run by Safer Journeys, under the auspices of the  Ministry of Transport incorporates safer driving warnings including additional rumble lines, more signage advising drivers to keep left and more speed limit signs.

Other resources include pamphlets advising road conditions and weather patterns in high tourist areas and prominent directional signage to laybys, parking and rest areas  throughout Otago, Southland and the West Coast.