New Zealand / Transport

Mainfreight yet to identify driver performing risky overtaking manoeuvre

20:53 pm on 24 March 2021

One of the country's largest trucking companies is struggling to identify a driver caught on camera performing a risky overtaking manoeuvre on State Highway 2.

Video of the incident was sent to Mainfreight before Christmas and has recently emerged on the social media platform TikTok.

A Hawke's Bay woman said she had her heart in her mouth while travelling along State Highway 2.

A Mainfreight truck pulls out to pass the vehicle she's travelling in ... and crosses back onto the left hand side of the road - it appears just narrowly missing impact with an oncoming car.

A Hawke's Bay woman - who RNZ has agreed to identify via her TikTok handle, Scuby - shot the video.

Scuby said the close call happened while she was a passenger in a friend's truck returning to the Bay in August.

"So, it was early evening and we were heading back from Masterton. Now we said to this guy [the Mainfreight truck driver] that he could go around us and then the car came around and we let him know there was a car coming but he kept going.

"You can't see it on the video, but we ended up having to slow right down so he could actually get past us."

In the video, the lights of an approaching car are clearly visible as the Mainfreight truck and trailer comes alongside the truck it is overtaking.

(file picture) Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

They then whizz past just after the Mainfreight truck pulls across to the left and applies its brakes.

Scuby said it was too close for comfort.

"My heart went into my throat. It was definitely one of those moments that I will remember and there are not a lot of those that I will actually remember till the day I die."

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett agreed the overtaking manoeuvre was not the best.

"It looks tight to me. I'd say that I'm concerned, but it's up to the driver and the company to deal with this."

Leggett was willing to cut the driver a little slack.

"I can't tell from that the stretch of road what the distance was involved. What I can say is that we obviously expect the law to be observed at all times by truck drivers and there is no excuse for dangerous driving."

Mainfreight was unavailable for an interview.

In a statement, it said it was the expectation of its drivers that they would drive with utmost care and safety on New Zealand's roads.

The company said the video was shot before Christmas but only recently uploaded to TikTok.

It said staff watched it for the first time this week after being alerted to it by RNZ and had yet to identify the driver involved.

That surprised Scuby who sent the video to Mainfreight's Hamilton office shortly after the incident happened in August.

RNZ has seen evidence that she did this.

"That's ridiculous, it's been how many months now and they still haven't found him.

"They can see where they are, what speed they are doing, all that kind of thing on a computer screen - all they have to do is punch in the number plate or the truck number and they just find them there and then and just go back through the records."

Leggett also thought the company should have been able to identify the driver by now.

"I would have thought so, yeah, but I assume there's a place and time that's been supplied to them along with this recording. I mean, yes, that's what I'd expect."

Scuby hoped her video had given the driver pause for thought.

"Yes I certainly would because I worked it out the other night if all vehicles were full and he had a passenger as well and the car was full with five people, that would be nine lives possibly impacted by his silly decision."

Mainfreight said follow-up discussions and action would be taken with the driver once they were identified.

*Since the publication of this story on 23 March, 2021, Mainfreight told RNZ on 24 March that it was able to identify the driver within 24 hours of viewing the video.

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