There are many ways to sabotage a trip abroad, but one of them should not be driving like a maniac. Yet, that is exactly what happened to a family of six Malaysians after arriving in Christchurch (New Zealand) on Tuesday (November 29). Unfortunately for all of them, one of their number, a 49-year-old man, rented a vehicle for the family and proceeded to drive recklessly to Kaikoura, some 93 miles away or 149 kilometers.
To the surprise of the entire family in the rental car, the driver of the rental was driving not only at high speeds, but so recklessly that a member of the family in the vehicle vomited outside of the car when it was stopped by police hours later. Worse, local residents called the police to report the rental car being driven across the Waiau Bridge...on the WRONG side of the road! The car also reached speeds of up to 130kmh and narrowly avoided two head-on collisions with vehicles as the driver crossed the center-line on numerous occasions.
COMMENT: Fortunately, the rental vehicle was intercepted about 20 kilometers south of Kaikoura near Oaro, while the vehicle was three-quarters on the WRONG side of the road. The ages of the occupants in the car were from ten to 66.
The driver was promptly arrested for dangerous driving and will appear in the Christchurch District Court on Monday (December 5). A family member drove the rental car behind the police patrol car to the family's accommodation in Kaikoura. The driver was subsequently released on bail.
Once the vehicle got the family to where they were staying, their rental contract was canceled and the car repossessed.
This incident underlines why our roadways worldwide are so dangerous, largely because a significant number of drivers who are permitted to rent cars in other countries have no business getting behind the wheel of a car. Imagine if the driver who rented the car described above had killed law-abiding drivers on New Zealand highways? Imagine! He might never have seen the light of day and those killed would never breathe another breath.
One can only hope that in the very near future enlightened countries everywhere will institute an interactive, computerized driving quiz to graphically measure their competence and safe driving awareness before they are permitted to operate a motor vehicle in a foreign country. Every life is precious; no one should die unnecessarily because of an incompetent driver.