National culture in New Zealand

There may also be 'something' in New Zealand's own national culture that makes the country to be late in addressing important safety issues (especially when compared against other international "firsts", such as being the first country where women could vote). Examples of above poor safety culture are the following:

  • Rules-of-the-road: yield to the right when turning left. New Zealand changed the standard "yield to the left" road rule to "yield to the right". The latter may be an 'okeyish' rule for a road environment with typical single lane roads and low traffic (eg, in the countryside), but it is both inefficient and unsafe for more complex road environments, as well as when supporting high immigration and tourism. It seems the rule will be changed back to a 'standard' international rule of "yield-to-the-left" in 2012.
  • Mobile phone use while driving. New Zealand banned the use of mobile phones while driving much later than other first-world countries. Apparently, there was not enough evidence that New Zealanders' use of mobile phones while driving increased the chances of road accidents.
  • Legal blood alcohol limit while driving. New Zealand also seems not to be convinced by international research about the correlation between high blood alcohol and traffic safety that it needs to carry its own research before introducing appropriate laws.
  • Disaster lessons not learned (Cave Creek and Mt Erebus).


Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2011). Massey University, New Zealand (JDPerezgonzalezJDPerezgonzalez).

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