Taranaki crash victim pleads for changes to rules around foreign drivers

The family of a Taranaki woman left in a critical condition after a head on crash are calling for changes to the rules around foreign drivers.

Jan Knowles was travelling to Auckland with her husband when a vehicle driven by a French national crossed the centre line and collided with the couple last Friday.

Craig Knowles and his wife were taking their son's dog Arnie to Auckland.

They were just 20 minutes into their journey when their car collided with another vehicle.

"It comes from nowhere and it absolutely did," he told Newshub.

"It was just there and probably no one had any reaction time."

Police say a third vehicle travelling south was trying to overtake a tanker in a passing lane, but decided to pull back.

A car with two French women was following behind, and the driver didn't see the vehicle in front slowdown.

She swerved to the right, clipped the car in front and crossed the centre line before smashing head on into the Knowles' vehicle.

Mr Knowles suffered severe bruising, a cut to his head and a hole in his lung.

He was taken to hospital in the same ambulance as the two French women.

"One of the girls who wasn't the driver just said sorry, sorry, sorry," he said.

Ms Knowles suffered the worst of the impact.

"She's got broken legs, a fractured pelvis, she's got some facial fractures, broken arms and our concern is the head injury," he said.

Ms Knowles' family say her life will never be the same, but the progress she's made so far has been nothing short of a miracle.

"She opened her eyes and saw me and I said Jan can you see me and she said yes," Mr Knowles said.

The family's dog Arnie ran from scene, and passed away after he was later hit by another car.

Mr Knowles says he was told the two French women had been in the country for a week, and wants changes to the rules around foreign drivers.

"They're here for a good time, a quick time and that just shouldn't happen," he said.

He also wants safety improvements made to state highways - particularly those with passing lanes.

A select committee is currently looking at the issue of foreign drivers on our roads.

As for the 34-year-old French driver, she appeared in court on Wednesday facing three charges of careless driving causing injury.

She did not enter a plea and is due to reappear in March.