18 Nov 2015

Call for caution after house-carrier deaths

5:23 pm on 18 November 2015

Drivers need to take greater care around trucks carrying houses on the road after two fatal collisions, says a transport industry body.

House being moved on truck

Photo: 123RF

A 74-year-old man was killed near near Kai-iwi, northwest of Whanganui, when his ute crashed under a house-transporter last night.

Police said the Toyota ute passed two pilot vehicles before colliding with the truck and also hitting a following vehicle on SH3 about 10pm last night.

Last Friday, 52-year-old Nicholas Kinsford was also killed when his car collided with a truck carrying a house in Northland.

Police were still investigating the cause of the crashes.

The New Zealand Heavy Haulage Association said about 3000 houses were moved each year.

"Usually we find there's an accident about every two years so two in a couple of weeks is quite unusual," said chief executive Jonathan Bhana-Thomson.

He said there were safety protocols for when trucks were over-dimension, including two front and one rear pilot vehicles for advanced warning, lights and signs, and specific travel times.

"The key for motorists to know about is that if that pilot vehicle has a purple light on it then that means it's over five metres wide, which means that it's probably in your lane. Therefore you should be prepared to slow down, stop and pull over," he said.

Mr Bhana-Thomson said, as an industry, they were always looking at improving things but urged motorists to take greater care and pay more attention to the road code.

"I guess everybody knows what red and blue [pilot lights] stand for but not many people apart from those in the industry know what purple stands for.

"Maybe there needs to be actual questions in the road code about what does the purple light actually mean. Maybe that's something that can be enhanced in the future."