Drunks kill… no, hang on… speed kills…. no? What? TRUCKS?


via 111emergency.co.nz

A road safety campaigner says trucks need to be off the road, if the road toll is to significantly improve.

Dog and Lemon editor Clive Matthews-Wilson says in good economic times, there are more trucks on the road.

He says as long as large freight trucks on the road, there will be multiple deaths, that would be easily preventable by moving goods by rail, or sea.

Mr Matthews-Wilson says if a car hits a truck, that car is always going to come off second best.

Oh for crying out loud, stop it already.  

We all know what kills.  Idiots, alcohol and drugs, fatigue, distraction.

But what doesn’t kill is 1 kilometer over the speed limit, or 1 microwhatsit per millithingy of blood in alcohol.

And now we have to get trucks off the road?

I tell you what:  get all the cars off the road, then there will be very few road deaths.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a natural “background” level of road deaths that is caused by stupidity, alcohol, prescribed and illegal drugs, inattention, distraction and some Acts of God, and we’re pretty much near that level now.

Stop farting around the edges trying to bring the road toll down through micromanaging drivers, and concentrate on education and road improvement.


– Newstalk ZB


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  • hookerphil

    Notice he said if a car hits a truck, not if a truck hits a car. I notice how so many people appear to give a quick look, see a truck coming and think, if I get going I will be in front of the truck – they have no idea how long it takes a truck (and trailer) to slow down and miss this type of idiots. Bit similar to a train and a car on a crossing.

    • johcar

      You get the exact same sentence structure when it’s cycle vs. car or motorcycle vs car: ‘.. a motorcycle collided with a car…’

      When the facts of the case (usually) are that the car hit the two-wheeled vehicle (because the car driver ‘didn’t see the “insert two-wheeled vehicle of choice here”)

      • Michael_l_c

        Or the car pulled out in front of, resulting in the motorcycle driving into the side of the car.

  • symgardiner

    Education, technology improvements and roading improvements… everything else is pushing the proverbial up hill.
    Self drive cars and mainstreaming collision avoidance systems will be the next big game changers.

  • Michael_l_c

    How about we get rid of trains then we won’t have any fatal crashes at road/train crossings.
    The rules & science are simple, don’t pull out in front of a big truck. The truck will win.

  • steve and monique

    How many of those killed on NZ roads in 2014 were immigrants/ tourists, Or caused by same. Have a feeling it was a few.

  • Korau

    One of the causes not mentioned is tourists used to driving on the right (wrong) side of the road.

    Let’s ban tourists as well!

  • MAWG
    • Stealing that for Roundup, hope you don’t mind.

      • MAWG

        This needs to be spread as far and as wide as possible. Go for it.

  • Davo42

    “He says as long as large freight trucks on the road, there will be multiple deaths, that would be easily preventable by moving goods by rail, or sea.” Probably not that easily preventable given that a large proportion of our truck traffic is logging and milk tanker related. I can just see the train lines running to every farm and logging skidder site right now, imagine the amount of level crossing accidents his great prevention plan would cause. I think this guy has been hanging out with Len Brown and developed a train fetish.

    • MAWG

      There are worse fetishes to get by hanging out with Len Brown I suppose….

  • Greg M

    Professional truck drivers aren’t the problem. Half stoned hoodie wearing numpties looking at their phones, tourists on the wrong side of the road, and our poor quality roads are where improvements need to be made.

  • Iva b ginn

    This is just another case of some Idiot making statement without finding out the facts in the 60s & 70s every thing went by sea and rail the only trucks that were on the roads were only aloud to move produce from the manufacturing point to the nearest railhead or port. The road toll in those years were twice as high as it is today. Go figure!!

  • Wallace Westland

    Typical reaction of a one agenda self interested commentator. Clive has only two interests. Cars and his magazine.
    He reminds me of the clowns who want infrastructure and road works done at night so they can get to their well lit offices during the day without inconvenience.

    We can however expect the police to echo the cry that the road toll is up due to good economic times.

    Not once will will they say it’s up due to our lax licensing laws that allow people that may never actually have driven a car on a real road to come here and take control of a vehicle after showing their license from a foreign country.
    Nor will they blame incompetence, inability, stupidity or ignorance as that is not in keeping with the PC line. God forbid we said something to upset the families of dead (or living) halfwits that cause carnage by pulling out in front of trucks on state highways and doing bloody U turns.

  • T. Akston

    Here we go again, glass always half empty.

    The nice truck driver took care to park off the road so that dog-and-lemon cars wouldn’t run into him, skillfully avoiding the light pole and leaving the driveway clear. Give him some credit please.

  • ShoreRight

    So how is Clive going to get products …or doesn’t he buy anything…there would be lots of traffic jams if everyone had to drive to the wharf or railway station to buy stuff, does he never go into a supermarket, hardware store, even a small local store …how does he think all the products and produce would be distributed?
    How would he get logs from the forest … oh no I suppose he wouldn’t be chopping any trees down!

    • mommadog

      I am thinking along the same lines. How ridiculous to get trucks off the roads. this man must want to go back tot he 1800s when the train was first invented and the only store in town was next to the Railway station. You could carry your goods from the train to store or use a horse and buggy if it was heavy. However the world has moved on and there are more suburbs and people who like to be able to purchase stuff locally. Without trucks how are goods going to be delivered from the railway station to wherever. All of that made in China stuff people purchased over the holidays would still be sitting at the Wharf or at a Railroad station. All those nice lunches and dinners out he probably enjoys – my nephew is a truck driver that starts at 4am delivering to restaurants so they can make everyone else happy during the day. Also the majority of truck drivers are better drivers than most. They have to be to manage with all the other idiots on the road thinking they are bullet proof.

      • OneTrack

        The pro-1800’s afficiandos tend to forget about the details, like what happens at each end of the fixed link.

        Len has done the same thing with his choo-choo. How will all those new train riders actually get on the train in the first place? No parking at the stations, no buses, nah they’ll stay with their car. The city will still be bankrupt and the motorways will still be full.

    • OneTrack

      Train line to every supermarket.

  • andrewo

    Just a suggestion here: If transport operators paid more than $20 per hour for truck drivers they might get better quality drivers and they would avoid the need to drive 12-15 hours per day to earn a decent wage.

    • ShoreRight

      Andrewo – if you can check out the job descriptions/ policies of some of the transport operators and you will see how strict their guidelines are for their drivers …not all will be so but the industry is committed to constant improvement in this area.
      Additionally if anyone ever gets the opportunity to go in a large truck as the co-pilot they will be shocked to see how many cars pull out in front of trucks not to mention pedestrians. As mentioned below some folk have no concept of how long it takes a truck to stop!

      • andrewo

        The better operators, yes. However you’d be surprised at the pills some of them take to stay awake…

    • Ghost

      Driving 12-15 hours a day is somewhat frowned apon by Mr Plod, drivers and companies that push the limits end up paying large penalties. Some drivers dont get that opportunity.

      • Teletubby

        Drivers are not allowed by law to work those hours. It used to be very common for them to do so. Flouting of driving hours laws was endemic in the industry 20 yrs ago but changes to legislation to make businesses and dispatchers liable for fines as well in the event of a driving hours breech has made a big change here

  • Ghost

    This guys pitch is that long haul freight should be banned as rail and shipping are more efficient, if this was the case, being commerce driven, trucks would have been off the road years ago. Logic as flexable as loopy Lens choo choo set.

    • conwaycaptain

      Shipping is the cheapest way to move goods around NZ. NZ used to have a thriving coastal shipping industry but bad management, government lack of interest and removing cabotage killed it.
      Moving goods from Akl to the SI is cheaper and quicker by sea than by NZ Rail or trucking, I was Mate of the Coastal Trader and we left Akl on Saturday and arrived in Lyttelton on Monday and we were full. Dunedin on Tuesday, Lyttelton to load on Wed and back in Akl on Friday morning. Full both ways.

      • Teletubby

        Cheaper yes, quicker absolutely not. Road transport can achieve next day delivery ex Akl to Chch and 48 hour to anywhere further South.

        • But very little freight is that urgent. And if it is there are other options.

          • Teletubby

            To the contrary nearly all freight is that urgent . The entire consumer sector and large parts of the industrial sector rely on this type of fast service. All fresh goods, most frozen foods.

      • Ghost

        Granted it may be cheaper, but would think that would be more so for bulk freight, port to port, what shipping wouldnt offer would be fast, flexable and market meeting transport needs that an intermodel transport system couldnt (export aside). Rail and shippings heyday were when linehaul road transport was regulated out of the market, New Zealand will probably always be to small, economically and geographically, for efficiant fixed transport assets, unlike the US and Euro model.

      • Sailor Sam

        Agree with you, forcing all NI-SI traffic onto a couple of ancient Cook Strait ferries is ridiculous. The trucks still have to come from Auckland and still have to drive the Kaikoura Coast road.

    • OneTrack

      This is the flaw in the plan for rail and sea. If it really was more efficient, the shippers would already be doing it. The real “problem” is that NZ is too small to gain much benefit from the distance itself, and all the costs accrue at the endpoints ie where the products actually need to get to.

  • This man is a fool. He is the same person who garnered a little publicity for himself when he was predicting the removal of the stupid give way to traffic turning into a road on your left would have priority over you turning left, would lead to multiple accidents.
    The rule was idiotic in the first place and it’s removal led to reduced accidents, not an increase.
    Perhaps we need to consider that, according to his logic, no one would be killed on the roads if we took all cars, trucks, vans and cycles off the road altogether. Then we could walk hand in hand through the happy streets casting rose petals from side to side.

  • williamabong

    Mathew-Wilson is a fool, by trade his only qualification is as a motor mechanic, yet the lazy media have painted him as an “expert” on road safety.
    What MSM don’t say is M-W opinions are are nothing more than that, opinions.
    As long as you have a generation of drivers that think Playstation is a driver training tool, drivers who spend 99% of the year driving in 50kph areas in daylight before venturing onto the open road for their annual holiday journey, a driver qualification system that says if you can drive a car you must be able to tow a trailer, and a third world road network no amount of “pro-active” policing will stop the road toll rising.
    Perhaps a limit on the number of state fed mouths gathered round the table may start to free up the cash to make a start on at least the road network, jus a thought.

    • Sailor Sam

      Well said, but it is not the faulkt of the roads, it is drivers who have no idea how to drive on them. Spending the summer in OZ. a
      A lot of single lane roads have continuous double lines, to stop people overtaking. They also have constantly varying speed limits, 70, 80, 90 kph.
      seldom do you see 100 kph.
      But with everybody driving at these limits, traffic flows smoothly and without idiotic overtaking driving is a lot less stressful.

      • williamabong

        Add to the mix a corrupt, revenue and quota driven enforcement unit to help create a lethal brew.

  • Mikex

    I’m always amazed how well as a species we actually manage to perform in driving these horseless carriages and mostly survive. When you think the worst possible thing to hit, is something coming rapidly towards you.
    So we design roads to go faster and cars to go quicker and we protect ourselves from potentially instant death by…….painting a white line.

  • Doc45

    I am interested in the evolution of risk and risk aversion. It seems we have developed a society where there is a theoretical zero tolerance to risk to the point of absurdity – “no trucks”. It starts with our kids. A recent study in the US showed kids are:
    less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.
    Is the world (playgrounds to roads) becoming colourless and less interesting because we are trying to eliminate all risk?

    • sin-ic

      The ‘limiting of risk’ and O.S.H. has nearly doubled the costs of most things especially the cost of building our houses. The lengths builders and allied trades have to go to keep OSH happy, as well as armies of paperpushers to oversee the lot is immense. e.g.. if you wish to replace the guttering of a 2 storey house it will cost over $3000 to fully scaffold the house so the ‘worker’ dosen’t fall off.

      • Doc45

        Good points. I would like to get a handle on what this rubbish is adding to the cost of building a house. We are watching a house being built across the road. The scaffolding cost was over $5,000. They have 2 metre fence around the section locked at night. There are lots of hidden costs – due to a misunderstanding the crew were held up for an hour waiting for a key to arrive. The boss has to record near miss accidents – how daft is that? All crazy stuff adding cost and no gains.

  • Nige.

    What’s his alternative? Good ol “workers of the world unite” “Greek style” socialist friendly RAILWAY.

  • KGB

    My husband is a truck driver. He refuses to pull a trailer now, he doesn’t go near Auckland. He does travel Highway 1 north and always comes home with a near miss story about some idiot in a car. He is constantly stressed by car drivers behaviour and spends his days avoiding them.

    • mommadog

      My neighbour was a bus driver for many years. School runs as well as long distance charter trips. While he had a clean record and no accidents there were lots of near misses. He is glad to have a different driving job now out in the country loading top dressing planes and to be off the roads for the same reason – car drivers behaviours.

  • johnnyB

    So is he lining up to be a Green or Labour Candidate?

  • Jim460

    I am not sure that we can take it as a given that rail is safer than trucks.

    2013 Road Toll. 47 Deaths in crashes involving a truck. 207 Deaths in crashes with no truck. This includes vehicle-vs-pedestrian deaths.

    2013 11 Rail deaths total. 5 in Level crossing accidents, 6 pedestrians on track, no crew deaths. 2 Vehicle deaths at level-crossings.

    Shipping looks tricky because almost all shipping in NZ is international. But about 2 dockworkers die per year on average. Maritime NZ lists no fatal ship accidents for 2013, however accidents at sea on foreign-flagged ships may not be reported to the NZ authorities. Personally, I am quite willing to believe that coastal shipping has a lower fatality rate than truck or rail based on overseas data, however.

    In 2013, Trucks carried 21286 tonne-km, Rail 4492 tonne-km

    2013. 26 Reported workplace deaths in Transport/Warehousing. I have not been able to break this down into Rail/Road/Shipping/Other on a quick search.

    I am aware of overseas data showing a lower death rate for rail freight. However, it is not obvious that rail-freight in NZ kills substantially less people than truck-freight.

    The above quick search suggests: Trucks = one death every 452 tonne-km of freight. Rail = one death every 408 tonne-km of freight. I am quite willing to be proved wrong, however.

  • Jaffa

    Well, that’s one truck off the road!

  • TSD

    Actually I think 1 kilometer will increase the chances of getting killed as people will spend more time looking at the speedo rather then then road. It’s obvious that this new crackdown has absolutely nothing to do with safety.

    Following Mathews-Wilson’s logic though, we actually need to get trains off the rails as every time an idiot puts themselves in front of one they come off second best.

    • OneTrack

      I don’t know about increasing the death rate, but increasing the rate of rear-end collisions, definitely. It is a stupid, short-sighted solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

  • Damon Mudgway

    I never takes anything this failed car salesman says seriously. Why the media print any of his waffle astounds me.

  • Bert Piepoint

    Holiday time also brings out the painfully slow drivers, like the one encountered the other day on SH1 South of Cambridge. An older couple in a early model RAV 4 pottering along at 60 in a 100 km zone, leading a conga line of 20+ cars. Totally oblivious to the situation. Where was Plod?

  • cows4me

    It is the silly season.

  • Backdoor

    Maybe a better option would be to remove all private motor cars from the roads and allow the professional drivers to do their job safely.

  • Bart67

    Do you know how many New Zealand owned or registered coastal shipping vessels currently ply their trade in our maritime environment? I believe the number may be 3! This, coupled with a massive under-investment in regional port facilities, means that the most economical and cost effective method we have in shifting goods around New Zealand is a dog. Creating and using a regional coastal shipping network would reduce the need for long haul trucking, reducing wear and tear on our highways. Local deliveries would still be required, of course, so driving jobs would not be hugely affected.

    • taurangaruru

      NZ would go back to the bad old days of being held to ransom by the Unions, MUNZ would love it.

  • conwaycaptain

    The shipping corp lengthened the Coastal Trader about 7-8 years before they were disbanded. The ship was FULL.

    It was due for replacement about a year before SCONZ went to the wall and the ‘management’ same out with some fancy bloated figure that it would cost to replace,

    All it would have needed was a 350-400 TEU vessel and also use it as a feeder to Akl for overseas cargo.

    Now you would need a bigger and maybe a second ship and use it also as a feeder into Akl and TGA for overseas shipping.

    Now Pacifica has been taken over by Swires (China Navigation Co) you may see more coastal shipping up and down the coast. A service every 3 days ex Akl to the SI would be feasible.

  • I.M Bach

    I’m getting on a bit now and still ride a motorcycle. To stay alive I don’t do dumb stuff and treat everyone as if they are trying to kill me, which also works well in a car. Now the kids have grown up and flown the coop my wife and I have more flexibility when it comes to taking leave, so we work through the holiday period so that when we do go away the roads are quieter/safer. I know not everyone has that luxury but I wonder how many who travel at the peak times really have to.

  • Dave

    Speed has never killed anyone, but the sudden stop or collision does. All to often, this is the result of inexperience, inattention, or just plain stupidity. I have mooted these previously, but a threefold approach.

    1) increase the open road speed for drivers with at LEAST 5 years and 50,000 km experience who have PASSED an advanced driving course, and are driving a vehicle under 10 years old, with a COF. Other drivers, banned from FAST lanes, and for any vehicle over 20 years old, a maximum speed limit of -10 km/h This creates a massive up-skill a lot of drivers will want to have the benefits of 10 to 20 KM/h, plus gets the old vehicles without modern brakes, ABS etc off the road.

    2) Scrap the railroads, convert the main trunk lines to a massive dual carriageway super truck only highways. Then convert the current railway stations to marshaling yards where road trains break down to smaller units, or change trailers, and also build truck stops / rests at these points, approx every 80 to 100 km. This has many benefits, trucks over say, 15 tonne are mostly off the roads, they can only travel between entry / exit points, and the current roads are mainly used by cars.

    3) Make SH1 dual carriage way initially from wellington to Auckland, then Picton to Dunedin, etc etc. Again, a massive infastructure project, employment, investment, and separating opposing traffic.

    Yes, before I am shot down, there are smaller arterial roads, but this is a start, and its impossible to convert every single road to a separated dual carriageway, besides Darwin must have a few wins along the way.

    • Albert Lane

      So would you be able to drive a huge truck and trailer unit through a narrow railway tunnel?

  • steve and monique

    Well Clive, you are the official muppet of 2015 day 2! So what do you suggest then? Take the trucks off the road and let the morons who think they can outrun a truck continue to use the road with the mindset they are invincible? Then wipe out a family in a car instead of traumatising a poor truck driver? Give me strength, those who can’t think tend to be editors of newspapers or magazines like this. Next time, say something in your head first – at least twice, before engaging your mouth. If people didn’t drive like idiots then they wouldn’t get wiped out. How about sparing a thought for the poor old truck driver who has to relive the image in his or her head every day

  • The Accountant

    Where do you stop? Lets get rid of level crossings to. And how about those recreational boaties getting in front of the container vessels. Hell, Zebra crossings put people in front of vehicles. I’m buying shares in a cotton wool manufacturer. Its a growth market.

  • Teletubby

    The free market has spoken, the demand for rail and sea services is a tiny fraction of the capacity. The prices may be cheaper but the service levels have historically been so poor that the market is largely not interested in rail and sea. Sea however may have it’s day again as rail move towards road bridging all the inter island rail freight,

  • Goldfish

    I had an interesting thought about this giving the power back to the unions, but that’s already been covered earlier.

    What I find interesting is the unintentional mob mentality going on here. Everyone is in agreeance, car drivers are largely numpties and truck drivers have been unfairly targeted. I also agree. But the moment a cyclist gets introduced into the narrative (e.g. in other stories, not this one), people forget all about these numpty car drivers and turn on the cyclists. They suddenly “forget” how bad a lot of drivers are.

    As I’ve been saying for a long time car drivers are the main culprit on the road. A tougher licencing system is great. Personally I’d like to see an “advanced driver” licence endorsement which permits the holder to travel faster than the regular speed limit. That endorsement has to be tested for and earned, with regular retests. Give people a carrot to earn and overall driving behaviour might improve considerably.

  • Albert Lane

    Do you remember when the Kaimai rail tunnel was built? It was designed to get trucks off the Kaimais and reduce congestion and road crashes (I don’t call them accidents). The growth of the port of Tauranga would benefit as well. And we got our tunnel. Well, I don’t know how many of our readers travel across the Kaimais, but if you do, you will notice that there is an extraordinary amount of truck traffic on that road. And my observation indicates that the slowest trucks on that road are carrying logs from the Waikato and beyond to the port. But I thought that’s why we have the tunnel.

    • david

      My nephew drove trucks for a time. His boss told him that he had to cheat on driver hours, it was the only way he could compete with rail. Maybe his company was an exception.

  • Albert Lane

    Do you remember when trucks were limited in their travel range to a very short distance, and that was to encourage rail traffic. If goods were to be transported from Wellington to Auckland and many points in-between, they had to go by rail. But rail was expensive. Pillaging was rife. Goods took days to arrive. So the government debated removing the restrictions on trucks. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but the Minister of Transport at that time was a fellow called John Banks. I distinctly remember him telling the country that by deregulating the transport industry, there would be no increase in the numbers of trucks on the roads. And our politicians bought it. And suddenly our narrow roads became infested with trucks, and they still are. Roads that were constructed in the 1950’s had to take a mixture of traffic that didn’t take account of almost every adult person in NZ owning a car – and using it. And then what did they do? They restricted truck speeds to 10 kmh lower than cars. And that could be frustrating, especially if you’re caught behind one on the open road, and there’s not enough passing space, and when you get to a hill, it has to chop down to low gear, and you’re still stuck behind it. And so often you are following a convoy of trucks, and how do you ever get past them? So there’s the problem. Where’s the answer? We have a small population to fund the numbers of dual carriageways and passing lanes that we need. Should trucks only be allowed on our highways at night? Should trucks have to stop for an hour every hour? Should all highways have passing lanes every 5 km with trucks being prohibited from using the passing lane? We all know the problem, but what do we do about it?

  • Backdoor

    A little patience goes a long way. I note most comments on here are complaining about being held up by other traffic like trucks. As the Police say, 100kph on the open road is the maximum speed and not a target to be hit.

    The difference between traveling 100 kms at 100kph compared with 90kph is about six minutes. Depending on how long you live, it is not a big percentage.

  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    Perhaps this asswipe with two names should spend some time in the cab of a truck before he tells us what is best for us. As for his garbage about using sea and rail instead of trucks – not many trains or ships deliver to rural addresses. I guess we should all move to be next to ports and train stations.

    What an educated idiot he is.

    • Imogen B

      I am amazed he doesn’t also want to ban power poles and trees. They seem to be a magnet for stupid drivers. Has anyone done a comparison of fatalities caused by hitting poles trees and bridges compared to those ’caused’ by hitting trucks?

  • Disinfectant

    It’s called the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. More and more effort but little effect in reducing the road toll.
    Same in Aviation. But the CAA think we can get to a “zero” level of fatalities. You can’t.
    Time the CAA, NZTA and the Police accepted this.
    Has anyone come up with a formula taking into account our roads, road design, weather, driver demographic, driver ethnicity, driver intelligence and a few other things to arrive at what the fatality rate is, which below when cannot get to.
    Such a formula would be achievable. Maybe someone needs to do a Phd in this subject.

  • KiwiKaffir

    Truck drivers used to be the gentlemen of the roads, they would pull over to let cars past. Now their trucks are so powerful and they have deadlines to meet its hard to pass them. They still slow down on the hills and corners but as soon as they’re able it’s back up to 100 or even 110. Yes I know their speed limit is 90 but how many actually do it!