A number of truck crashes in the Western Bay of Plenty are caused by the inability of truck drivers to see other motorists when merging, says Senior Sergeant Ian Campion.
The region’s road policing manager says a number of crashes in the region occur at the close of merging lanes on highways where cars attempt to overtake trucks.
A truck and trailer unit carrying hazardous material rolled on State Highway 2 on April 16.
“Car drivers need to be aware often when they are overtaking a truck, particularly on the left where there are two lanes, there are areas where they are unsighted by the driver.”
The comments come as police launch a joint NZ and Australian campaign - Operation Austrans - aimed at reducing the number of people killed in truck accidents.
Research into truck crashes show around 76 per cent of the people killed are other road users involved rather than truck drivers.
“This statistic reflects the fact that in a collision with a heavy vehicle there is a much higher probability of death or serious injury than in a collision involving only light vehicles,” says national road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths.
“We need road users to become much more aware of the risks involved in sharing the road with heavy vehicles, especially around stopping times and distances.”
Ian says there have been a number of serious crashes involving trucks in the wider Western Bay of Plenty this year.
A truck and trailer unit carrying bottles containing acetylene, LPG, oxygen and nitrogen crashed around 1.27am on April 16, near Wainui South Road closing a section of State Highway 2 for about 12 hours.
Ian says heavy motor vehicles within the Western Bay of Plenty need to slow down a little, drive to the conditions and not exceed their 90km/h speed restriction.
Ian is also warning motorists not be tempted to attempt to pass a truck, particularly on the left, at the end of passing lanes.
“It’s really important to remember that, there are areas when you are overtaking, particularly on the left, when you are unsighted by the truck driver.
“There have been several instances at the end of merge lanes where vehicles have been coming up on the inside lane where the truck driver has pulled to the left and there has been a collision with a vehicle.”
As well as speed compliance, Operation Austrans, which runs from May 20 to June 16, will also be targeting the heavy vehicle road transport sector on road safety issues such as fatigue and vehicle compliance.