Could T-plates for tourists make a difference?

Last updated 11:19 16/05/2016

Something needs to be done about foreign drivers, and done soon, writes Tony Peterson.

More dead on our roads: What can we do?

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Recently there has been a movement to have tourists display T-plates on their cars while driving.

The ever-growing Facebook group T-Plates for Tourists now has more than 3000 likes and a petition to Prime Minister John Key has been introduced as the next step in this initiative.

Their claims are based on the following:

'The Transport Ministry figures report that in some parts of New Zealand have a shockingly high percentage of crashes involving foreign visitors. In some regions between 2009 and 2013, 37 per cent of crashes involved an overseas driver.' - NZ Herald

'New Zealand’s terrain and roads are unlike anywhere else in the world. This, combined with the prospect and perception of space, beauty and a largely insouciant attitude, has blinded many tourists when travelling across our country.' -

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'If learner drivers are required to display L-plates, and restricted drivers are required to abide by curfews and accompaniment rules, then logically it would make sense to enforce equivalent rules upon overseas drivers. A simple requirement for tourists to display T-plates would alert surrounding drivers to be extra vigilant.' -

Their aim is to keep New Zealanders safe on our roads​. 

The question that needs to be asked of this initiative is will T-plates make the roads a safer place? Or will they just cause unwanted attention drawn to those using our roads from other countries.

One suggestion made by this initiative does however show promise. This is the likeness of the T-plate to a learner drivers L-plate.

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A possible written test required by the tourist in order to be awarded their T-plate and allowing them to drive on our roads. I think this is a fantastic idea, this would ensure that those coming to New Zealand to drive had somewhat of a grasp on our road rules.

Would it work, will it work ... who knows. All I know is something needs to be done and be done soon.

If not we will keep reading articles about the head-on crashes due to people driving on the wrong side of the road, the angered locals when people stop to take pictures on a narrow coastal road, and of the general disruption and danger uneducated drivers cause on the road.

We wouldn't let a New Zealand resident on our roads without a basic test, so why let a tourist?

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