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Peters wants controls on foreign drivers

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/05/2016

New Zealand First is again pushing for controls on foreign drivers renting cars after a US driver was sentenced for causing a fatal crash.

Leader Winston Peters says the driver got off lightly when he was sentenced in Kaikohe District Court on Saturday.

Thomas Springer was ordered to pay $24,200 reparation to the families of two women who died and was disqualified from driving for 18 months after he earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving, causing death, media report.

The 66-year-old caused the head-on smash while driving on the wrong side of the road on State Highway 10 near Kerikeri on April 30.

Mr Peters, the MP for Northland, says the government should take up a bill proposed by NZ First which requires rental companies to investigate the competence of hirers from overseas to drive on New Zealand roads, educate them about driving requirements, and ensure that they have the experience to do so.

"In this case the visitor hired a rental car immediately on arrival, and headed off, driving on the left-hand side which he would not necessarily be familiar with.

"He also says he has suspected brain tumours. Surely a rental car company, adhering to a law requiring a duty of care would not have allowed him out of the driveway," Mr Peters said.

He says there's no merit in the argument that foreign drivers only cause a small percentage of crashes.

"This is not about the size of percentages, it is about people's lives," he said.

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