11 Dec 2017

Truckies concerned at widening speed gap where two lanes merge

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 11 December 2017

Truck drivers are concerned new speed limits on two of the country's safest roads could be dangerous because it widens the speed gap between heavy and ordinary vehicles.

"I think the biggest problem will be where trucks are travelling at 90km/h and you'll get cars trying to overtake you at the end of a passing lane at 110km/h. And that 20 km/h will make a huge difference, especially to oncoming traffic," said truck driver, David.

The Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway and the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road introduced an upper speed limit of 110km/h today after the Transport Agency (NZTA) consulted on the move.

But David said he'd been driving trucks for many years and could foresee issues.

Everyday he has close calls and that's with the 100km/h speed limit, he said.

"If you look around you'll see the cars try to overtake trucks at the very end, they just try to get that little bit ahead of them.

"That's where the trouble will be," David said.

His colleague Michael Bingham agreed but said drivers already sped far too often.

"They just slow down when they see a cop. As long as it's a good bit of road I suppose it's all right."

The transport agency's director of safety, Harry Wilson, said he was aware of the problem and it was factored into the new design.

"A truck can't pull over simply to the left and go onto the shoulder. So drivers need to be extremely cautious when they're coming to the end, which is well signposted, but we also have engineering treatments that actually make sense to people about the merging area."