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Safety tags for visiting drivers to go nationwide

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Steering wheel tags with simple road safety tips for visiting drivers are to be rolled out nationwide after a successful trial in Queenstown earlier this year.

Developed jointly by the Rental Vehicle Association and a range of tourism and transport safety agencies as part of the Government’s Visiting Drivers Signature Road Safety Project, the steering wheel tags aim to get vital safety information to visitors at the time when they need it most.

Almost 20,000 of the removable steering wheel tags (similar to a luggage tag) with key messages for visiting drivers about driving on New Zealand roads were trialled by Queenstown-based rental vehicle operators between August and October this year.

Around 70 percent of visiting drivers surveyed about the tags found them helpful, and the Tourism Industry Association NZ and the Rental Vehicle Association will now be printing more to roll out to rental vehicle operators nationwide.

Project Chairperson, Jim Harland, said the purpose of the tag was to explain New Zealand’s road safety basics in a way visiting drivers could easily relate to, and to complement existing road safety resources for this group of road users.

“It’s also great to see the information on the tag being used by others keen to do their bit to keep visiting drivers safe on our roads. Similar messages to those on the tag feature in AA Traveller magazine, the Tourism Industry Association NZ’s and the Rental Vehicle Associations respective guidelines for rental vehicle operators, Queenstown hotels and motels and back of buses in Queenstown.”

Several other initiatives to keep visiting drivers safer on our roads are either underway, or about to get underway.

Barry Kidd, Chief Executive of the Rental Vehicle Association, said the Association has amended its standard form rental vehicle agreements so it is easier for operators to immediately cancel the agreements in the event that the hirer’s driving poses a real danger to themselves or others on the road. The Association is also looking at ways of making it easier to alert other rental vehicle operators about these dangerous drivers who attempt to hire vehicles from them. These measures are aimed at promoting safer driving in New Zealand for all road users.

Meanwhile Mr Harland said things unrelated to this project are also happening that could indirectly improve on road safety for visiting drivers. Among them is a 282 bed-pod hotel the Jucy company plans opening near Christchurch Airport by early 2016.

The hotel will cater for long haul flight passengers allowing them a few hours rest to freshen up before continuing their travels. For some, those travels may involve long drives to popular destinations such as Queenstown and the West Coast. If they are well rested before tackling these lengthy trips they are less likely to have a driver fatigue related crash he said.

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Footnote:

The Visiting Driver project is part of the Signature Programme, a key action under the Safer Journeys Road Safety Strategy.  The programme is a suite of projects that are expected to help reduce road casualties through innovation and giving effect to the safe system principles.

For more information about the Programme please go to www.saferjourneys.govt.nz(external link).

The pictorial messages are focussed on keeping left, safe speeds, safe overtaking, wearing seatbelts and driver fatigue. The messages and graphics have been developed based on feedback from the rental vehicle industry, Police, the NZ Transport Agency and a behavioural psychologist specialising in road safety.

These new resources complement existing road safety resources for visiting drivers, such as the Transport Agency’s leaflet What’s different about driving in New Zealand, keep left stickers for windscreens, and the information booth at Queenstown International Airport.

 

For more information please contact:

Bob Nettleton
Senior Communications Advisor
T:  03 951 3005
M:  021 954 928 
bob.nettleton@nzta.govt.nz

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