Fourth logging truck rolls in a few weeks

By Alexandra Newlove

3 comments

Northland's fourth logging truck rollover in a matter of weeks was fully blocking a rural road late yesterday.

The half-laden truck and trailer unit rolled just before 4pm near the intersection of Waimate North and Okokako roads, about 20km south-west of Kerikeri. It blocked both lanes and there were diversions in place at either end of the road. Police said no one was injured in the crash and no other vehicles were involved.

Three other trucks rolled on Northland roads between April 11 and 18. In all three cases, none of the drivers was badly injured and the trucks were the only vehicles involved.

Police serious crash unit investigator Jim Hawthorne said, while he did not keep statistics on truck crashes where there were no serious injuries, he believed an increase in rollovers related to more trucks on the road. "We do have too many [rollovers] and they all have some common thread," he said. "Usually speed, fatigue and inattention. They lose awareness and some over-estimate their own abilities."

On April 11, a truck-and-trailer unit was travelling along Whangarei's Otaika Valley Rd towards State Highway 1 when the trailer went out of control and rolled on a bend, about 2.30pm, spilling logs on to the roadside. Police said speed was likely to have been a factor. The following day, another full truck crashed off Pouto Rd about 6.45am, though the logs remained fastened to the trailer.

On April 18, a truck rolled on SH14 at Conn's Hill, blocking the westbound lane of the highway. The driver received minor injuries and was treated by ambulance staff. Following the three crashes, Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said he agreed rollover rates were "unacceptably high", though said topography was also partly to blame. Mr Shirley described Northland as "the biggest geological hodgepodge in the country ... There are some very problematic roads". Despite the recent spate of crashes, in about 60 per cent of logging truck crashes, the other drivers were at fault, he said.

- Northern Advocate

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