Campaign for tourist road tests

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 15:01 27/03/2014
Sean Roberts
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
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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A campaign to prevent tourists driving on New Zealand roads without sitting a test is gaining momentum.

Geraldine nine-year-old Sean Roberts launched a petition in memory of his father, Grant Roberts, who was killed in November 2012 when a tourist crashed into his motorcycle.

The petition has already received more than 770 signatures.

Mr Roberts, 43, was returning from the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill, in a convoy of bikes.

They were travelling north when Mr Roberts and Dennis Michael Pederson, 54, of Tauranga, collided with a southbound vehicle on State Highway 8, in the Lindis Pass. Both men died at the scene.

Chinese student Kejia Zheng, 20, was disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay $10,000 in emotional harm payments for causing the death of the two men and injuring two other people in the crash.

Sean expressed his concerns to The Timaru Herald two weeks ago after a report found crashes and driving complaints in the Mackenzie District related mainly to tourists driving with international licences.

"I think it's been real good - all the support's been really nice," he said, of the number of signatures and comments his petition has received.

People from as far away as Australia and Dubai have signed it.

A 20-minute video has also been brought to Sean's attention, which tourists must watch before they can drive in Canada.

"In my opinion, [that concept is] a bit safer, but the only problem is they don't have it in other countries, say, like New Zealand."

Sean now plans to take his petition to Mackenzie townships so he can increase awareness and get more signatures.

To sign it online visit http://www.change.org and search for Sean Roberts.

SUE FRANCIS/fairfax NZ

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- The Timaru Herald

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