Unsafe driving slammed
A Queenstown man left facing court charges, with an un-useable vehicle and thousands of dollars out of pocket, after a run in with a recycling truck wants professional drivers to brush up their act.
Businessman Preston Rogers-Brown believes poor driving habits have long been an issue in the resort but a recent incident has prompted him to speak out.
He was charged with performing an unsafe passing manoeuvre when a recycling truck pulled out in front of him without indicating near Queenstown Primary School in December. The charges were thrown out in the Queenstown District Court.
Still reeling from the case, Mr Rogers-Brown said it was time someone highlighted the poor driving practices of many drivers operating vehicles on local roads.
‘‘He didn’t indicate. He didn’t look in his mirror. He didn’t give way. He didn’t follow the road code and he didn’t get charged. I did.
‘‘I bet I’m not the only person who has had a problem with a professional driver,’’ he said.
Video footage shows a Smart Environmental truck, with its flashing orange light on, pull in to an empty carpark near some wheelie bins without indicating before pulling out, again without indicating, in front of Mr Rogers-Brown.
‘‘If you time it, I had less than a second to react. I swerved and braked. The first words he said to me were ‘‘sorry mate, didn’t see you there’’.’’
However, the police summary of facts states the Smart Environmental driver told police he was pulling over to allow a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction to pass safely rather than pulling over to collect rubbish and Mr Rogers-Brown was charged.
‘‘There was no reason for me to think he wasn’t getting rubbish or recycling,’’ he said.
The incident highlighted long held concerns about a lack of indication and what he believed was excessive use of flashing orange lights on service vehicles, especially those not in service, which could make the community complacent, Mr Rogers Brown said.
‘‘They see it so often they won’t pay attention to it when it’s on for the intended purpose,’’ he said.
Smart Environmental manager Ricci Peyroux said he was aware of the incident but was surprised to learn it had been taken to court. The driver had been hired on a short term contract which finished about the time of the incident.
‘‘We haven’t been involved with any part of the court case,’’ Mr Peyroux said.
It was the first case of its kind in the five years he had worked for the company and Mr Peyroux said he had not received any complaints about the driving of his staff but welcomed anyone with concerns to contact him.
Drivers were supposed to only use their flashing amber lights when carrying out collections, he said.
‘‘Typically, lights are off when drivers are driving a long distance to their next collection.’’
Queenstown Lakes District Council solid waste manager Stefan Borowy said he was unaware of any complaints regarding the driving of council contracted rubbish trucks and said he would expect police to contact him if they dealt with any.
It didn’t matter if flashing amber beacons were left on all the time but it was important they were used during collections, Mr Borowy said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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