New data about the part overseas drivers play in crashes in New Zealand doesn't back up "some common myths" about foreigners on our roads, according to associate Transport Minister Craig Foss.
The Overseas Drivers in Crashes report shows that between 2010 and 2014, there were 2081 injury-causing crashes in which the foreigners were at fault and of those, 68 were fatal.
However, the number of crashes caused by foreigners has remained steady over the past decade despite a surge of about a million tourists annually.
"We know the number of crashes involving overseas licence holders -- less than 6 percent of all fatal and injury crashes -- has stayed relatively constant over the last 10 years when the number of international visitors has increased by about 30 percent," Mr Foss said.
The report shows that just 3.8 percent of crashes between 2010 and 2014 were caused by foreign drivers -- that number rising to 5.7 percent in crashes that caused injury or a fatality.
And it's not for reasons people often think of in which such crashes take place; the report suggests only about a third of crashes involving foreigners in the last 15 years were caused by a lack of understanding of New Zealand's road rules.
About half of fatal crashes involving overseas drivers occur because of road rule misunderstandings, it says.
Short-term visitors are the biggest contributors to that statistic -- they cause 78 percent of all vehicle collisions by overseas drivers on New Zealand roads, while overseas students and migrants are only involved in 22 percent between them.
The reality is that most foreigners make the same mistakes on the road as Kiwis, with only a small number of crashes a result of driving on the wrong side of the road, misunderstanding give way rules or post-flight fatigue.
"The report shows that very few short-term visitors crash within their first few days in New Zealand, and of those that do crash, fatigue is generally not a contributing factor," he said.
"It debunks some common myths, such as visitors -- especially those who usually drive on the right-hand side of the road -- are crashing because they're tired after long-haul flights. The data simply doesn't support this."
Those from the six worst countries in the world for car crashes -- that is, Australia, Germany, UK, China, India and the US -- account for about 55 percent of the crashes involving foreigners on our roads.
While nationwide the amount of crashes caused by overseas drivers is not particularly high, it does vary hugely between regions -- and the South Island seems to come off second best.
Westland is by far the worst-affected region, 38 percent of its fatal and injury crashes between 2010 and 2014 involving foreigners -- and about a quarter of crashes in Southland and Queenstown.
Only 5 percent of crashes in Auckland, Christchurch, Waikato and Dunedin involve overseas licence holders, that figure dropping to 4 percent in Hamilton and 3 percent in Wellington.