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Drivers should carefully inspect tow couplings

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A tragic crash in Australia a timely reminder to New Zealand transport firms to carefully inspect coupling systems.

Drivers should carefully inspect tow couplings

Kiwi truckies are reminded to carefully check their tow coupling systems after a tragic crash in Australia involving a failed coupling resulted in three deaths.

“This terrible crash is a reminder for truck drivers everywhere to make sure that this vital piece of equipment is well maintained and serviced,” Senior Transport Officer at the Transport Agency Paul Chapman says.

“Wear and tear in couplings can sometimes be hard to detect – if drivers have any doubts at all about their coupling system they should seek the advice of a professional,” Paul says.

With some ‘bolted tow-eye’ systems, tightening up coupling bolts which have come loose will not solve the problem; the unit will need to be replaced.

Another common problem highlighted by roadside inspections is couplings not correctly placed in the ‘lock’ position.
In some cases this is due to the driver not being fully aware of what a correctly locked coupling system should look like, so trucking firms should ensure that drivers are fully familiar with the coupling systems of their vehicles.

In the Australian incident, a failed coupling was cited as the reason a fuel tanker’s trailer unit separated from the truck and then veered across the centre line, hitting two vehicles and resulting in three fatalities.

"We support the Road Transport Forum’s suggestion that an examination of bolted tow-eye coupling systems be incorporated in any driver’s walk-around inspection," Paul says.

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