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