Driver error was the major cause of a 2014 fatal crash between a truck and the Northern Explorer train, an investigation has found.

Father-of-three Cory James Clements, 28, died when his truck was hit by the train at a level crossing near Rangiriri in the Waikato district on February 27, 2014.

No one on the train was injured.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) said in its report released today the crossing did not meet safety standards, but the Porter Group truck driver had failed to stop.


No barrier arms or bells were at the crossing, but KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said at the time it was "typical of many around the country" and did not mean changes had to be made.

The Commission found that the train would have been visible to the Hamilton driver had he looked, but there were "broader safety issues with the level crossing".

The train's headlights and side lights were on at the time, and the driver applied emergency braking and sounded the horn.

But the view lines from the stop line at the crossing did not comply with minimum standards, so when a train was just out of the driver's view, a heavy road vehicle would not have enough time to pass over the level crossing "without being struck by the train".

But the Commission found that Mr Clements did not stop, causing the accident.

Level crossings are not routinely checked, the commission said.

TAIC recommended the NZTA address these safety issues.

The report also warned drivers to comply with stop signs at level crossings and check for trains.