19 Mar 2015

Boy urges MPs for stricter foreign driver rules

12:48 pm on 19 March 2015

A nine-year-old Canterbury boy whose father was killed by a tourist on the road has told MPs that foreign drivers should have to sit a competency test.

From left, boys' mother Mel Pipsen, Sean Roberts, Cody Roberts.

From left, boys' mother Mel Pipsen, Sean Roberts, Cody Roberts. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Sean Roberts' father Grant Roberts and another man died after a Chinese student's car collided with their motorcycles in November 2012.

Sean Roberts and his younger brother Cody presented a petition to Parliament's transport and industrial relations committee calling for a law change to ensure that tourists were aware of the road rules.

He told the committee that foreign drivers should get some driving instruction before they drive on the New Zealand roads.

He said he understood there wouldn't be a driving test because it would be against the Geneva Convention.

"Maybe a ten minute simulator or a movie or something that shows the road signs."

The boys' mother Mel Pipsen said a code of practice for rental companies should also be regulated.

"This isn't only for New Zealanders and New Zealand families, it's also for the tourists and their families.

"Because we want them to come here, we want to have the tourists in our country, but we want to make sure that they are safe while they're here as well and return home to their families."

More than 25 rental car companies have agreed to develop a code of best practice following concerns about tourist drivers.

The code would make sure rental companies gave visitors more information about New Zealand driving conditions, increased screening of a visitor's driving experience when they hired a vehicle, and shared information when a visitor's contract was cancelled.

The committee will consider the petition before making a recommendation to Parliament.

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