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I saw a figure from Australia that tourists are 10 times at risk of death as locals. We have some factors that don't apply to NZ like long distances and the risk of running into large native animals, although both have accidents with horses and cattle. In NZ hire cars regularly have accidents where cars leave the road but fortunately without major injuries.

What is significant in NZ is a large number of Chinese visitors. Having travelled behind one group I suspect that the driver had very little driving experience and had quite likely never passed a license test. It is an unfortunate aspect of many countries that passing tests is an inconvenience which is best avoided by paying a bribe. Most countries in Asia have abysmal mortality rates for road users.

I suspect that we should not be allowing drivers from some countries to use an international license, but it is based on commercial reasons that we don't want to deter students and tourists and in most cases they only hurt themselves.


Ken: On the analytical front, it would be interesting to see if the growth of tourists (or Asian/Chinese tourists) is correlated with the growth of accidents. Also, I suspect that any similar areas frequented by tourists will face similar statistics so establishing whether this area of NZ is unique requires better analysis.


Regarding this:
"...a vigilante movement in those regions popular with tourists. The vigilantes snatch car keys from tourists who annoy them by holding up traffic along the scenic routes"

This is a misrepresentation of what is happening. The 'vigilantes' are taking keys from tourist drivers who display appallingly bad and/or dangerous driving such as repeatedly crossing the centreline, dangerous overtaking, stopping and taking photographs in the middle of the highway on a blind corner, etc. It is NOT because locals are stuck behind slow drivers, and has been quite specifically targeting really bad driving, often evidenced through dashboard cams. It tends to happen in areas where the intervention of Police might take some time so locals take action to protect other road users.

Based on my experience of driving in a country where I have to drive 'on the other side of the road' I know how easy it is to pull out and drive on the wrong side. This is far less likely to happen in a city where there are other cars to follow, but in the country it's very easy to forget, and drive for some time on the wrong side before realising. Head-on crashes for this reason are not uncommon. Bad driving is a different story and seems to be particularly problematic with Asian/ Chinese tourists but whether this is a statistical reality or a media bias is hard to tell.

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