More than 200 sign petition

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More than 240 people from North Otago signed the tourist-driving law petition in the two weeks it was available at the Oamaru Mail office.

The petition was posted to its creator, 10-year-old Geraldine boy Sean Roberts’, yesterday afternoon for him to take to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on Thursday.

The Oamaru Mail made the petition available on March 2, following the death of 5-year-old Oamaru girl Ruby Marris on February 21.

Ruby’s immediate family and many other relatives have signed the petition.

The petition was created by Sean and his younger brother Cody last year after their father, Grant Roberts, died in an accident involving a tourist driver in 2012.

The petition, which is also available on change.org, asks for a tourist-driving law reform to make New Zealand roads safer.

Sean and Cody’s mother, Melanie Pipson, said she wanted to thank all those who have taken the time to sign the petition and support her family.

They will be attending the Industrial Relations and Transport Select Committee at 11am on Thursday, she said.

Sean said the support from throughout New Zealand has been amazing.

The brothers posted cards to Ruby’s family in the week following her death.

A 32-year-old Chinese tourist was charged with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing injury in relation to the accident.

Jing Cao made his second appearance in the Dunedin District Court on March 13 and was remanded on bail to reappear on April 14.

Public outrage over dangerous tourist driving has surged since this accident and several others recently with many people criticising rental vehicle companies.

As a result, representatives of about 25 rental vehicle companies gathered at a meeting in Auckland on Monday and agreed to develop a code of best practice.

The meeting was convened by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and the Rental Vehicle Association New Zealand (RVA).

The code will include increased screening of driver experience at the time of hiring and at vehicle pick-up, more pre-arrival information about New Zealand driving conditions and more information-sharing between rental vehicle operators about visitors whose contracts have been cancelled.

–¬†Additional reporting NZME

By Ruby Harfield