Tourist road crashes

January 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports with a headline:

Road risks in spotlight as tourists tally 400 crashes

Sounds bad. But in the story:

Overseas drivers were involved in more than 400 crashes on New Zealand roads last year, and failure to keep left, poor handling and fatigue the leading causes of deadly crashes.

The number is down on previous years – in line with a wider trend of a reducing death toll on New Zealand roads – but the number of foreign drivers involved in multi-victim crashes has prompted calls for tourists to make themselves familiar with the country’s “unique driving challenges”.

Three American tourists were killed in a crash near Turangi in May, and four Argentines died in a head-on crash in July in the central North Island.

 So the concern is over a crash in May and a crash in July. Now all avoidable crashes are lamentable, but are two multi-victim crashes involving foreign drivers significant? What I would like to know is how many multi-victim crashes there are a year, and what the rate of such crashes is per number of drivers (local and foreign) or even better per number of kms driven.

Downward trend
Overseas drivers and accidents

2012: 406 accidents, 15 fatal

2011: 559 accidents, 15 fatal

2010: 617 accidents, 20 fatal

2009: 704 accidents, 21 fatal

A reduction in accidents from 704 to 406 would seem to be a cause for celebration. Now the article said this is in line with an overall reduction in the road toll. But are they dropping at the same rate. Let’s look at the number of overall crashes.

The number of accidents by tourists dropped 42% over three years. The number of total accidents from 2009 to 2011 (2012 data not yet out but the road toll suggests not lower than 2011) dropped from 11,125 to 9,804 or 11.8%.

Another way to look at it is in 2009, foreign drivers were involved in 6.3% of road crashes, dropping to 5.7% in 2011 and if total crashes in 2012 is same as 2011, dropping further to 4.1%.

What I’d find interesting again is what proportion of drivers are foreign or tourists? If it is more than 4.1% then that may suggest they are safer drivers than NZers!

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5 Responses to “Tourist road crashes”

  1. Azeraph (603 comments) says:

    Or we are down on tourist numbers as well as actual tourists driving as opposed to previous years. Can a foreign national be classed as a tourist if they are here longer than three months if they have been driving on our roads two weeks after they arrived in the country?

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  2. Rex Widerstrom (5,327 comments) says:

    Or are we finally waking up to the fact that our fellow NZ drivers aren’t the reckless lunatics we’re constantly told they are by police and governments eager to justify the revenue they raise from severely punishing even mild infractions, so they need a new boogeyman to scare us?

    If we don’t have a roadside cash register on every straight stretch (never mind the corners and the intersections, where accidents are more likely to actually happen), why, Johnny Foreigner may come roaring round a corner and hit us!!

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  3. Alan Wilkinson (1,848 comments) says:

    I would guess road improvements have contributed substantially to drops in tourist crashes. I am unreliably informed that a tourist used to crash on the unsealed Cape Reinga road every day of the year to the great benefit of the local towies. But unhappily for them the road is now sealed and they have to rely on those who get stuck in Te Paki stream or on 90-mile beach.

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  4. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    We must shift from the left to the right ;-)

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  5. rightoverlabour (74 comments) says:

    I have driven in Italy, South Africa, England and Ireland. New Zealand drivers are the worst of the lot. Especially in Auckland. They think they own the road and the concept of give way does not exist. But its easier to talk crap and publish it in that useless piece of BBQ fire starter called the herald…

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