Sean's driving laws petition surging towards Parliament

Last updated 05:25 21/05/2014
Grant Roberts with sons Sean and Cody

KILLED ON LINDIS PASS: Grant Roberts with sons Sean and Cody.

Sean Roberts speaks about driving.

Sean Roberts
ON A MISSION: Sean Roberts, 9, wants to know why tourists are still able to drive in NZ, despite a concerning number of crashes caused by people holding international licences.

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Parliament will soon get a visit from a South Canterbury youngster determined to make a difference to New Zealand's driving laws.

Sean Roberts, 9, launched a petition earlier this year in memory of his father, Grant Roberts, who was killed in November 2012 when a tourist crashed into his motorcycle.

The petition aims to prevent tourists driving on New Zealand roads without sitting a test. It has already received 5000 signatures.

"I'm absolutely positive that something will change," Sean's mum, Mel Pipson, said.

"Sean said something really good to me yesterday. He was talking about who it affects.

"He came up to me and said 'it's not just for us, Mum, it's not just for people that were close to us, but for all families - the tourists' families because they have to live through it as well'."

Roberts, 43, died when a foreign student drove across the centre line in the Lindis Pass, hitting two motorcycles and killing Roberts and his friend Dennis Pederson.

Kejia Zheng, 20, was disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay $10,000 in emotional harm.

Sean hopes his petition will stop other families suffering as his has.

Among the people who have expressed their support is a South African woman travelling in New Zealand.

"I have converted my SA [South African] driver's licence to a New Zealand licence and couldn't believe how easy it was to do that.

"Although there are a lot of signs and road rules that are the same between the two countries, there are still a few road code rules here that I had to learn," she said.

Automobile Association spokesman Grant Ingersoll, of Blenheim, agreed foreign drivers had been involved in a number of fatal accidents on our roads.

However, testing all foreigners who arrive in New Zealand would be difficult "logistically".

"At least this boy is highlighting an issue that must be seriously considered and looked into by our politicians and not just be put into the too-hard basket.

"The AA and all motorists should applaud this young man's desire to see changes made to something we are all aware of. If just one life is saved, then it will be worth it."

Pipson will take all her children to Parliament to present the petition.

"We are going to Wellington, come hell or high water."

To sign the petition visit or visit Parkside Food in Geraldine.

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- The Timaru Herald

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