22 Nov 2015

Tourist driver blame unfounded - coroner

9:20 am on 22 November 2015

The perception that foreign drivers are causing mayhem on New Zealand roads is unfounded, a coroner investigating the deaths of seven overseas nationals in crashes earlier this year says.

The Lee family of four died in a crash north of Tokoroa in February, and less than a month later Tamara Barnett, Bishop Peterson, and his wife Ruth-Ann died near Hamilton. All seven killed in the crashes were American.

The latter happened when a car, driven by Richard Barnett, turned into the path of an oncoming truck and trailer unit at Templeview in Waikato.

Coroner Gordon Matenga released his findings into their deaths and found both accidents were caused by inexperience.

However, fewer than 6 percent of fatal and serious crashes in the past five years were caused by international visitors.

While many crashes involving foreign drivers were highlighted in the media, the reality was many more people were killed on the roads by New Zealanders, Mr Matenga said.

"There have been some suggestions from some quarters that there should be some form of driver testing for all visitor drivers.

"I am told that the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee considered this issue and came to the conclusion that there would be more effective ways of improving road safety."