NZ Runaway Vehicles

10 June 2022 

More Truck Runaways in New Zealand. When will it stop?

Across New Zealand we continue to see more truck runaways damaging property with the latest accident in Welcome Bay, Tauranga, in early May (2022), called a lucky escape.

A garbage truck contracted by Tauranga City Council to empty garbage bins, rolled 50 odd metres down a slope smashing into the garage of a house, doing significant damage.

According to reports, the handbrake was not applied properly. This is only a few months after a Dunedin man tried to stop a runaway truck before it crashed.

“Practically every year in New Zealand there are runaway heavy vehicles causing damage and in some cases fatalities, when it doesn’t have to be that way,” claims Managing Director of AutoKraft Electrical & Diesel, Gary Puklowski.

Mechanical Issues / Human errors

The situation with runaway vehicles is usually related to the park brake not being applied properly which can be human error or mechanical error. There have been some mechanical issues with two handbrake brands in New Zealand, noted Gary. “However, human error happens more than you think,” he said. “Many incidents go un-reported. Still, the reported list of known runaways is long and growing.” (See below.)

Proven Safety Solution Available

“In any event there is a proven commercial solution that would prevent runaway vehicles from happening, making people and property safer,” said Gary, “That solution is the MAX-SAFE Anti-Rollaway Brake system.”

In Australia it is used by nearly 10,000 trucks such as waste management giants SUEZ and Cleanaway, precisely to prevent human or mechanical brake failure resulting in heavy vehicle rollaways.

In New Zealand, AED, distribute and install the MAX-SAFE Safety range with progressive and safety-leading companies installing the Anti-Rollaway solution; companies such as Connetics, Allied Concrete and Firth Concrete.

The MAX-SAFE Anti-Rollaway Brake system is insurance against the driver not applying the brake properly before they exit the vehicle or the park brake not holding properly.

It works on all heavy vehicles including trucks and can be installed on new and existing vehicles. The solution costs NZ$X with up to seven years extended warranty.

“This is small price to pay compared to the loss of human life and the damage to property,” said Gary. “One Auckland rollaway was estimated to cause over $200K of property damage alone.”

Recent and alarming runaway incidents

The list of runaway incidents was alarming, continued Gary. “I think it’s time Fleet Managers and Safety Managers to took some initiative, some personal responsibility and make their own vehicles safer rather than waiting for government legislations that will eventually come after there have been too many accidents and fatalities, “ he said.

 NZ Runaway Headlines First 3

February 2022

Man tried to stop runaway truck before crash

A digger operator hanging off the side of his truck tried his best to stop his runaway vehicle from rolling downhill in St Leonards, Dunedin, but could not stop it from smashing through two concrete poles.

The 28-year-old man drove his digger onto his truck after he had finished working at an empty property, in Kea St, on Friday. As he operated the hydraulic deck to level the truck, the weight was too much, and the truck started to roll downhill, still carrying the digger. More Details.

June 2021

Runaway truck hits parked cars near Dunedin Airport

A runaway truck caused a mess after hitting several (seven or eight) parked cars near Dunedin Airport around 7.30am on Friday.

According to the Otago Daily Times,  no one was injured by the truck owned by Ferguson Trucking which was carrying hay bales. The cause of the runaway was being investigated.

February 2021

Landscaper killed in 'freak accident' after truck not left in gear

A Christchurch landscaper was killed by his own occupied runaway truck and trailer when it rolled down a driveway Duvauchelle, near Akaroa.

It appeared to have been a “freak accident”, caused by the driver forgetting to leave the truck in gear on a slope. More Details.

January 2020

Runaway bus horror: Driverless double-decker injures three in Victoria St in Auckland

A woman with a child was run over by a driverless double-decker bus in downtown Auckland, with witnesses racing to free her.

Pedestrians watched in horror as the runaway double-decker bus rolled down a hill and injured three people in downtown Auckland just after 1pm. More Details.

April 2018

Runaway Truck writes off two expensive cars

A runaway rubbish truck crashed over a stone wall into a St Heliers property in Auckland, writing off two expensive European cars in the driveway.

According to a New Zealand Herald Report, the park brake failed on the truck, 30m up the road from the house. “The driver was outside the truck at the time which was lucky for him, and no one was in the driveway which was very fortunate too."

May 2017

Runaway truck narrowly misses drivers, smashes into Auckland shop

A truck and trailer were parked at the BP service station when the brakes failed and it careered across the Hibiscus Coast highway, crashing into a tyre shop at the bottom of a hill

Miraculously it didn't hit anyone, according to the Newshub report. If it wasn't for a container (which stopped the truck) it would have been a whole different story, said a staff member from Tyre Corp. It’s the fifth time a vehicle has smashed into the shop in the last 18 years. Insurance will cover the estimated $200,000-worth of damage from what's proving to be a costly sloping hill.

May 2016

Runaway truck smashes into house in Henderson Auckland

A truck rolled 100m down a hill before crashing through the wall of a brick house and into the living room of a home in Henderson, in West Auckland.

The medium-sized truck was parked on a steep hill while workers unloaded building materials, when it began to roll down the hill. A police spokeswoman said the truck appeared to suffer handbrake failure. A resident said another truck had gone onto another house a few years back on the same street. More Details.

 NZ Runaway Headlines 2nd 3