Saturday, May 7, 2011

Loose Trailer damages vehicles

Click photo to enlarge
The runaway trailer where it came to rest outside the district court. Photo by Matt Stewart.
The runaway trailer where it came to rest outside the district court. Photo by Matt Stewart.
Queenstown woman Alex Thornton was shocked yesterday when a runaway trailer hit her car at lunchtime, and spun it 180deg before it "hurtled on its merry way" and smashed into a 4WD vehicle parked outside the Queenstown District Court.

The community support worker was turning into the St Andrew's Church car park in Stanley St when she saw the driver of the truck lose control on the wet road.

The trailer detached from the truck and struck the right front of her car, knocking it 180deg into the footpath.

She then saw the trailer carry on down the road and smash into a 4WD vehicle which was parked outside the Queenstown District Court.

Alex Thornton
Alex Thornton
The site is almost the same spot where a Connectabus bus hit two parked cars on Wednesday in similar wet conditions.

Chris Buckley, of Queenstown, was driving behind Ms Thornton when she was hit.

"The truck there was coming down the hill and the back end started swerving, spun the truck around, the trailer came around and snapped off at the drawbar where it hitches, hit the car, shot downhill, bounced off the kerb and straight down the street, probably doing about 60 [kmh].

"Then it got down to the car outside the courthouse and walloped it hard. It was . . . . . lucky she [Ms Thornton] was all right. There were a couple [walking below the Ballarat St car park] who jumped up on to the wall."

Police are investigating.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tough new towbar regulations investigated BY LEIGHTON KEITH - Taranaki Daily News

Tough new towbar regulations investigated

BY LEIGHTON KEITH - Taranaki Daily News

Last updated 05:00 11/01/2010

A call for tough safety laws to be set for light duty towbars is being investigated by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Coroner Tim Scott was critical of the absence of mandatory safety standards at an inquest in New Plymouth into the death of Donovan Shelver.

The 28-year-old was killed in November 2005 when a boat and trailer broke loose and speared into his ute on SH3 near Inglewood.The inquest found the design and workmanship on the towbar, made by A1 Bars 1994 Ltd of Auckland, was substandard.

At the hearing in August, Mr Scott directed the NZTA to investigate setting compulsory safety standards.

NZTA spokesman Andy Knackstedt said a detailed response to the coroner's recommendations would be made next month. "While there are current legal requirements for tow bars, which include compliance with general safety requirements, the law does not currently mandate the NZ towbar manufacturing standard for vehicles in private use," he said.

Currently, the standard was only compulsory for passenger service vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1999. The agency was also updating its guide for safe towing and loading for light vehicles to reflect recent rule changes.

Raise bar to rid towing of danger....NO ACTION IN THE UNITED STATES

Raise bar to rid towing of danger

By Mike Rose 2:05 PM Saturday Jul 17, 2010

Loose standards mean some New Zealand trailer boat owners could be using unsafe tow bars.

Most of us give little thought to the quality or suitability of our tow bars.

We, reasonably enough one would think, believe that if we buy from a reputable manufacturer and have it professionally fitted (or fit it ourselves to their specifications) we will have a safe and reliable product.

Think again, says Stephen de Kriek, chief executive of Auckland tow bar manufacturer Best Bars.

After receiving reports of substandard tow bars failing and causing accidents, he decided to do some testing.

He took two tow bars, one made by his company and one by another, and put them through the test rig at his Auckland factory. He also arranged to have the test independently filmed.

"Our test rig simulates typical loads and actions on a vehicle-mounted tow bar hitched to a 2-tonne trailer," he says.

In the test, the company's own tow bar reached 3000kg, or at least 1.5 times the stated rating.

"This is what it should have done under the NZS 5467 test protocol." The other tow bar, which de Kriek says was bought off-the-shelf and fitted following the manufacturer's instructions, began to bend under the strain within a few seconds and failed completely in just 41 seconds.

"It reached no more than 800kg. Well under the 2-tonne rating given by its manufacturer.

"Imagine if that was a 2-tonne boat and trailer breaking away from a car on the open road at 100km/h and careering into a vehicle heading in the opposite direction."

De Kriek says his research shows that as many as 1500 substandard tow bars are being fitted to New Zealand vehicles each year. He believes the Government needs to act to protect both those buying the tow bars and other road users.

"The possibility of thousands of motorists towing their heavy boat, trailer or caravan on public roads, who are totally unaware of the dangers if their tow bar gives way, is frightening. "These are tow bars that are purported to be made to NZS 5467 (the New Zealand Standard waiting to be enacted) but they are made cheaply from thinner metals, poorly designed or fitted incorrectly."

De Kriek insists he is not simply wanting another manufacturer's products off the market.

"I am shocked that these bars failed so easily and am really concerned for myself, my family and other road users. These dangerous, substandard tow bars are a ticking timebomb and I believe urgent action is needed." De Kriek says the real issue is that the NZS 5467 standard was released in 1993 but never enacted by the Government of the day.

"Since then, politicians and officials have ignored calls for the standard to be made into law, claiming that there isn't a major problem and that the statistics on accidents caused by towing are inconclusive.

"However, statistics show that in 2008 there were nine deaths and 39 injuries directly connected to accidents related to towing. I would have thought those figures were justification enough."

De Kriek says another problem is that those issuing Warrants of Fitness don't check the suitability or condition of tow bars during inspections.

"Since we started raising concerns about substandard tow bars we have had people contacting us. In one case, a man checked his tow bar and found that it was cracked in the same place on both sides.

"That tow bar was on a vehicle with a current Warrant of Fitness."

As well as lobbying the Government to enact the NZS 5467 standard, de Kriek has also written to the New Zealand Transport Agency, asking them to view the film footage of the tests and kick-start the process of putting NZS 5467 into legislation.

The company has also provided the test data and footage to the NZ Automobile Association, insurance companies and motor vehicle manufacturers.

By Mike Rose

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Calls for stricter towbar laws after fatality

Please Read Article Below

NOTE: This is a worldwide Issue.
These Videos All Have the Same Issue... but nobody does anything...


NO STANDARDS are in place for any tow bar or safety chains for any trailer just one pound under 3,000 pounds.

NO inspections on trailers under 3,000 pounds in most of the world.

Anybody can build one and nobody has a standard.

The questions must be asked... why?

It is all because of profit. If a company spends resources building the best trailer tow bar and it cost X... and the consumer does not understand and see's Trailer Tow Bar "Y" for much less then can you take a guess what the consumer will buy.

This is the fundamental issue we face. Just like a Utility Trailer that cost $1,000 but it has the best of everything and is tested to last....

If a company like in this example "Carry On Trailers" can produce a trailer for $499 because it uses no reflector tape... and does not encase the wires in a plastic tube and uses a lower grade of metal then you as a consumer will buy the cheaper trailer.

In the above example "Carry On Trailers" lobbied to destroy the "Virginia Reflector Tape Law" along with U Haul because it cost $10.00 to comply and in the process has pushed my family in financial ruin.

They will simply out spend a noble cause.

What about Safety Chains?

Calls for stricter towbar laws after fatality

Thu, 20 Aug 2009 6:28p.m.

By Adam Ray

A coroner has called for mandatory guidelines to improve the safety of towbars after a New Plymouth father was killed when a boat and trailer came loose.

The coroner's recommendations have won the support of the man's widow and the towbar industry itself.

Donovan Shelver was killed as he drove home from cricket practice - his car was hit by a trailer carrying a boat after its snapped.

His widow says towbar safety standards just aren't tough enough.

"It to my mind is idiotic that anybody can fit a towbar even if manufactured elsewhere you can come home and fit it...there should be some rules around that," says Kate Shelver.

A coroner who examined Shelver's death has also criticised towbar safety standards.

They're voluntary at the moment, and the coroner says they should be mandatory with random inspections of manufacturers.

Shelver's death is one of dozens involving light trailers in recent years.

Transport Minstry figures show eight people were killed and thirty nine injured from crashes with light trailers last year.

In the four years before that, an average of six people were killed.

Towbar makers say more than half of New Zealand cars have them - one of the highest rates in the world - so there's an urgent need for tougher rules

"There a lot of towing done so it means there's a lot of opportunity for failure and risk to the innocent New Zealand motorist," says John Nash of Best Bars.

The industry says drivers can lower the risks by dealing with recognised firms and looking for safety labels and they warn against buying second hand towbars without knowing their history.

"And so the towbar might be fitted correctly but its been cracked or fractured in a previous accident," says John Delacey of North Shore Towbars.

The government told 3 News that it's now reviewing the coroner's report and his call for compulsory standards.

3 News

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Head on collision closes Wellington's Terrace Tunnel

Head on collision closes Wellington's Terrace Tunnel

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 11:22a.m.

An automobile accident at 10:20am this morning closed Wellington’s Terrace Tunnel this morning for about an hour.

The closure was the result of a collision between a utility vehicle and a 4 wheel drive vehicle towing a trailer of concrete blocks – the trailer jack-knifed from behind the 4 wheel drive and hit the approaching ute head on.

Debris from the accident obstructed both lanes inside the tunnel the trailer and its load of concrete blocks lay strewn around the crash site.

The driver of the ute is currently in hospital with minor injuries whilst the driver of the 4 wheel drive was uninjured.

Police have informed 3 News that the tunnel will be open to traffic again at around 11:30am.