Coroner calls for A1 tow bar check

A coroner has urged all motorists with a particular brand of tow bar to have a safety check done.

A faulty tow bar, made by Auckland's A1 Bars 1994 Ltd, was found to be responsible for the death of former Taranaki cricket representative Donovan Allen Shelver in November 2005, at a coroner's inquest at the New Plymouth courthouse in August.

The 28-year-old was killed when a boat and trailer broke away from the towing vehicle and speared into his ute, on State Highway 3, near Inglewood.

A police Serious Crash Unit report concluded the direct cause of the crash could be attributed to the failure of the tow bar assembly located near the vehicle's chassis.

Coroner Tim Scott has recommended that anyone who owned or used a vehicle fitted with a tow bar made by the company have a safety compliance check carried out.

"Either at a warrant of fitness testing station or by a competent engineering specialist," Mr Scott said.

One report said the design and workmanship on the tow bar was appalling, while another stated its design strength was totally inadequate.

Mr Scott also recommended the New Zealand Transport Agency draw the public's attention to the concerns by placing safety concern notices in daily newspapers and other publications.

Police considered laying criminal charges against the director of A1 Bars 1994 Ltd, Roger Provan, but as it no longer existed no charges were laid.

Mr Provan is still making tow bars under the company name A1 Bars Ltd, which was first registered in April 2002.

At the August inquest Mr Scott also wanted the NZTA to set mandatory safety standards for light duty tow bars.

He directed the NZTA to report back on its progress within three months.

Taranaki Daily News