Close to 500 truck drivers now have a much better idea of how to avoid a roll over crash on a corner thanks to a recent heavy motor vehicle roll over awareness day held on State Highway 1 north of Christchurch recently.
The day was a joint initiative involving the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and heavy motor vehicle stake holders from around the Canterbury region. Over a period of 10 hours truck drivers entered a weigh station and were offered refreshments and had the opportunity to check out truck safety educational displays and material. In the last ten years truck crashes on the Kaikoura Coast section of State Highway 1 have killed two truck drivers and seriously injured another nine.
NZTA Regional Manager Access and Use Southern Greg Allnutt said from July 2003 and September 2009 there were 47 crashes in which trucks were deemed to be at fault on an 86-kilometre stretch of State Highway 1between the Conway and Clarence rivers - seventy percent of these crashes were rollovers at corners with speed advisory signs.
“It appears several of these crashes could have been avoided had the trucks involved been travelling 10km/h under the speed advisory sign limit. An NZTA check of 188 trucks speed tested at corners on this route with speed advisory signs, found 86% took the corners at more than the advised speed. This is despite the Road Code recommending that the driver of a laden heavy vehicle should take an advisory corner 10km/h below the stated speed”.
Mr Allnut said this figure provided the impetus to run a truck roll over awareness day targeting drivers using this section of state highway where the key theme of the day was 'keep it 10 below'. This was to encourage truck drivers to go 10 km/h below a recommended speed through corners and reduce the risk of being involved in a roll over or loss of control crash.
He added that most drivers who attended the awareness day saw truck rollover’s on corners as an issue on the Kaikoura Coast stretch of State Highway 1. Ironically there were three single vehicle truck roll-over crashes on this section of highway during the three weeks leading up to this event.
Over the next couple of months the NZTA and the Police will monitor just how quickly trucks are travelling through speed advisory corners on the Kaikoura coast section of State Highway 1, to see if truck drivers have taken on board the “Keep it 10 below” message.