Finding from inquest may result in law change

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014
Kejia Zheng
KEJIA ZHENG: Had only been in New Zealand one day when the accident happened.

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Police will give "appropriate consideration" to a coroner's recommendations following the fatal crash involving a Chinese tourist, which killed a Timaru man.

Grant Roberts, 43, of Timaru, and Dennis Pederson, 54, of Tauranga, were killed when a rental car driven by Chinese tourist Kejia Zheng, 20, crashed into a convoy of motorbikes in November 2012.

An inquest was held on the matter before coroner Richard McElrea in the Queenstown District Court last week.

The coroner reserved his findings.

However, the inquest heard Zheng probably had less than a month's driving experience.

She had been in New Zealand one day when she crashed the rental car.

A team of organisations, including the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), police and the Ministry of Transport are focused on the issue, a police spokesperson has confirmed.

"Police will give appropriate consideration to any suggestions that come out of this project, as well as any recommendations that may come out of the coroner's investigation into the deaths of Grant Roberts and Dennis Pederson."

New Zealand law allows any overseas driver who holds a current, valid overseas drivers licence, to drive in New Zealand for 12 months from the date of arrival.

The legislation that allows people from overseas to drive on New Zealand roads is the Land Transport Act.

Visitors from a range of countries can obtain International Driving Permits (IDP).

The permits also allow New Zealanders to drive in those countries.

In order to qualify, an applicant must hold a full licence and be over the age of 18. IDPs are valid for one year.

However, people from China, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa are not part of the IDP system. Instead, they can obtain a visitor driving licence.

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- The Timaru Herald

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