Tourists involved in fatal crashes

Two of this weekend's fatal crashes involved tourists.

A 52-year-old Dutch tourist allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign at Rakaia, Canterbury, on Saturday night, killing three people.

On Friday night a German tourist in a campervan allegedly crossed the centreline, killing a passenger in an oncoming four-wheel drive in Whenuakite on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Assistant Commissioner of road policing Dave Cliff said police worked with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency to tackle the issue, including encouraging rental companies to brief customers about the road rules and regulations before they drove off.

"There's an awful lot being done but I guess what it highlights is whatever you do you're relying on people obeying the rules and being vigilant," Mr Cliff said.

"For example, the crash involving a tourist driving through a stop sign, that's an international symbol so it's probably not specifically related to the fact they're a tourist, it appears to be inattention, and those rural intersections present real risks to people because of the speeds involved."

Nationally, fewer than 2 per cent of fatal crashes involved overseas drivers, he said.

However, in some popular tourist areas such as Queenstown, that figure rose to around 25 per cent, Mr Cliff said.

Kate Meldrum, general manager marketing and customer experience at Tourism Holdings Limited, said tourists who used its campervans were given extensive information on the New Zealand road rules in several languages, before and during their trip.

"There's a sticker on the dashboard that says keep left in English and German," she said.

"Most of the campervans also have an audio travel product, and that reminds customers as they're driving periodically to be aware of their driving times and keep left."

- Patrice Dougan and Mohamed Hassan of APNZ

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