The three NZ driving questions stumping tourists

A new report reveals self-driving tourists are dangerously unfamiliar with New Zealand road safety rules.

The University of Otago found that more than 95 percent failed a 30-question road code test.

Of 226 international visitors to Queenstown in a two-week period from earlier this year, just seven passed the test by getting at least 28 questions right.

The three most common nationalities among those tested were German, British and French. A significant number (31) of tourists who were approached were Chinese visitors who didn't want to take the test because they didn't understand much English.

Three of the questions, which were all taken from real New Zealand driving theory tests, stumped most of the participants:

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An average of 20 fatal crashes on our roads each year involve an international driver.

Professor Neil Carr from the University's Department of Tourism says it's not just up to tourists to learn our road rules - the country needs to have a comprehensive plan in place before their arrival.

"It's also the responsibility of the tourism industry, from the car and campervan rental agencies to the airline industry who are bringing these tourists here, to get the information out to these visitors early so that they can make the right judgements on the road and know the rules better," he told The AM Show.

He said he wouldn't recommend mandatory testing for tourists who want to drive while in the country as the logistics would be "virtually impossible".

"You can't expect someone who's coming on a once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand and has booked their transport months in advance to arrive here then have to take a test, and if they fail the whole holiday falls apart."

Carr said the tourism industry needs to be welcoming to overseas visitors but also capable of communicating vital road safety information with them in an engaging way.

"Do they need a booklet, do they need a two-minute safety briefing video? As long as it's something they can interact with, it can't be just boring oppressive kind of material, it has to be something people want to engage with.

"All the stakeholders coming together to get that message out there in multiple languages, recognising that for a large number of our visitors their first language isn't English, which doesn't mean they shouldn't be out on the road by any means. It just means we have to work better with them to get that message across."