In the lead up to the summer tourism season, all New Zealand car rental operators are encouraged to sign up to the industry-led Code of Practice for Informing Overseas Drivers (COP), part of the joint government and industry response to keep visiting drivers safe on our roads.
The Code of Practice was introduced in 2015 by the Rental Vehicle Association and Tourism Industry Aotearoa. It provides a standardised set of agreed practices for operators to follow when educating and assessing visitor preparedness for driving in New Zealand. Operators providing more than three-quarters of the rental vehicle fleet in New Zealand are current signatories to the Code.
Minimum standards include providing pre-arrival information to visitors on road rules and conditions, increased screening of driver experience and more information sharing between rental operators.
While safe driving responsibility remains primarily with the hirer, the rental vehicle industry recognises that it has a role to play in informing visiting drivers and preparing them for the road conditions in New Zealand.
Barry Kidd CEO of the Rental Vehicle Association encourages all rental vehicle operators who have not already done so, to sign up and adopt the Code of Practice.
”We believe this Code is essential for keeping roads safe for all drivers. While we cannot enforce this on operators, we will work with other tourism organisations to ensure they are aware of the Code of Practice and support operators who have agreed to use it.''
To be certified (or renewed), Qualworx, the Code’s external auditor visits the rental operator to undertake an independent system audit and site inspection.
Since signing, many operators have reported a decrease in accidents, impacting positively on trust in the brand.
Europcar New Zealand‘s General Manager, Stephen Jones says that as a leading inbound operator, he wants to set an example and asks others to join them in this important safety initiative.
“Safety and public assurance are critical pillars in all industries, and in particular ours. Our pledge to the Code of Practice is Europcar assuring Kiwis that we value safety on our roads.”
Any operator whose visiting driver is involved in an accident runs the risk of serious damage to their reputation should it be identified they are not signed up to the Code of Practice.
Judy Chen CEO of the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) says they will again be reminding its members of inbound tour operators ahead of the peak summer season that it is best practice to be booking with rental operators signed up to the Code of Practice.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the rental vehicle sector’s support for the Code of Practice has been pleasing since it was introduced in 2015. Tourism in New Zealand is continuing to grow, so there is a continuing need to educate visitors about New Zealand driving conditions and everyone should play their part.
“We need to do all we can to ensure our visitors have a safe and enjoyable time on their holiday. One way to mitigate risk on roads is for the industry to work together so our visitors are getting consistent and factual information.”