A dangerously modified car and careless driving resulted in the death of a 19-year-old man, a coroner has found.

Joshua David Peters was killed when a Subaru Impreza he was a passenger in lost control and smashed into a power pole on State Highway 57 near Shannon, in March 2009.

A Palmerston North inquest was told the driver was his friend Jaffe Forrest who had bought the car that day in Levin.

The vehicle had 18 modifications carried out on it, including a repositioning of the steering rack, but had been certified as safe by a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)-authorised Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) certifier just eight days earlier.


It also had a current Warrant of Fitness.

Mr Forrest was later charged with careless driving causing death, to which he pleaded guilty.

In her findings released today, Palmerston North Coroner Carla na Nagara said the crash was due in large part to the vehicle's modifications to the steering that should never have been certified by the LVVTA.

Careless driving by Forrest was also partly to blame for the crash.

Since the crash the LVVTA had changed a number of policies around safety issues that were identified in the case, Ms na Nagara said.

"The LVVTA has responded quickly, responsibly and comprehensively..." she said.

Ms na Nagara said she did not need to make further recommendations because of the actions already taken by the LVVTA.

"...however, I do comment that this case graphically demonstrated the very significant consequences of altering steering geometry in a vehicle.


"It is clear that any changes to a steering rack's height may adversely affect the vehicle's steering and safety, and must be thoroughly checked," she said.