Tired driver crashed in the wet - coroner

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 06/08/2014

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Driver fatigue and difficult driving conditions caused by bad weather contributed to a student losing control in an accident that claimed his life, a coroner says.

Michael Taylor, 24, was killed when the car he was driving crossed the centre line into the path of an oncoming vehicle on State Highway 3, near Skeet Rd, south Taranaki, about 5.50pm on June 17 last year.

In her findings into the Dunedin student's death, coroner Carla na Nagara said Taylor lost control of the car because of driver fatigue.

"Heavy rain and a wet road surface may have contributed to some extent," she said in her report.

The passenger in the car, Sean Moody, told the coroner the weather was stormy and there was surface flooding in some places.

There was no alcohol found in Taylor's system, but cannabis was.

Na Nagara said it could not be established when Taylor last used cannabis, how much he used or what effect it would have had on him. But she said it was "highly unlikely to have enhanced his ability to maintain control of the vehicle".

Taylor and Moody had left Dunedin the day before to drive to New Plymouth. They spent the night in Christchurch and left at 5am on June 17. They took turns driving, but na Nagara found Taylor would have been tired after travelling for nearly 13 hours.

Evidence showed the point of impact for the crash was wholly in the southbound lane, confirming that Taylor had completely crossed the centre line. The coroner found that Taylor died of injuries suffered in the crash.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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