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'Beyond a joke': RV swerves wildly over centre line in Marlborough

Newshub logoNewshub 12/09/2018 Sophie Bateman
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A Blenheim woman has captured shocking footage of an RV repeatedly swerving across the centre line, but says the rental company didn't want to know.

Rhonda Burridge was in a truck driving through the Rai Valley in Marlborough on Wednesday with friend and driving tutor Thomas Riwaka.

Near the Pelorus Bridge, an RV from Australian vehicle rental company StarRV pulled in front of them - and it didn't take them long to realise the driver was hardly abiding by the road code.

"It was appalling," Ms Burridge told Newshub. "He was riding the centre line, taking blind corners too wide. It just went from bad to worse."

She began filming the vehicle's erratic behaviour as they drove behind it. Her footage shows the RV repeatedly crossing the centre line, including around corners.

After realising the driver was a serious danger to other motorists, Ms Burridge and Mr Riwaka called the police and tried to get him to pull over - but that too proved hazardous.

"He was irate," Ms Burridge says. "When we pulled him over we told him to wait there for the police, but he just about ran us over to get away."

The pair radioed ahead to other trucks to let them know about the danger headed their way. Ms Burridge, who had a friend killed three years ago by a tourist driving on the wrong side of the road, says she took the situation seriously from the start, turning on the hazard lights and closely tailing the RV rather than simply overtaking it.

"If we hadn't been right behind him he'd have gone into the hills, and there's no way he wasn't going to cause an accident."

Eventually police arrived and pulled the man over, issuing him a ticket. His excuse for poor driving was eccentric to say the least.

"He said he was trying to give his elderly mother a smoother ride because she was feeling car sick," Ms Burridge says.

She says the driver was an Australian who claimed to have visited New Zealand six times, hiring rental vehicles on each trip. When Ms Burridge spoke to the officers, they said they would breathalyse the driver but were unable to take the keys from him.

When she called StarRV, she says employees were uninterested in seeing her footage and told her all they could do was contact the man and ask him to improve his driving.

She says she was told the rental company was unable to terminate the man's contract and stop him from driving their vehicles.

"It's irresponsible and reckless not to address the problem," she says. "Companies should be held responsible."

StarRV did not comment on the matter when contacted by Newshub.

Ms Burridge says the Government should be penalising tourists who break our road rules, and that they should be blacklisted from hiring rental vehicles in the future.

"We watched him just about kill people. It's lucky no one else was around."

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