A bereaved son has pleaded with a coroner to make 'keep left'
stickers and other safety warnings mandatory after his
Dunedin-based father and a tourist were killed by a campervan
driven on the wrong side of the road.
The van had been travelling in the oncoming lane for more
than 1km before smashing into Miles Morris's car near Lake
Moeraki, between Bruce Bay and Haast.
"My father paid for this preventable accident with his life,
and I continue to pay for it," Mr Morris told an inquest
yesterday via e-mail.
He was unable to attend the inquest due to surgery for
injuries he suffered in the December 28, 2011 crash.
His father, David Morris, 82, of Dunedin, was killed on a
stretch of road he had driven for years as a dairy truck
"He knew the road like the back of his hand, unlike the
tourist who hit us," Miles Morris said.
Detective Malcolm Howie told coroner Richard McElrea that
David Morris, and European tourist Kerstin Fromert, 51, died
on State Highway 6 when tourist Mathias Mandlmeier drove his
Wicked campervan on the wrong side of the road and collided
with Miles Morris's car on a bend.
The weather was fine and the road dry at the time.
"I distinctly remember dad saying 'what have we got here?"'
Mr Morris Junior said.
Both vehicles swerved to avoid a collision but Mandlmeier,
used to driving on the right, swerved back into Mr Morris's
path. Mandlmeier's partner, Kerstin Fromert, and David
Morris, died from high energy impact injuries.
Mandlmeier was later convicted of two charges of careless
driving causing death and one charge of causing injury.
Wicked Campers Auckland depot manager Jiten Patel said
clients were encouraged to take pamphlets about New Zealand
road rules, but they could not be forced to do so. Some
vehicles had 'keep left' stickers, but they came off over
Police senior crash inspector Simon Burbury said both
vehicles were travelling at a reasonable speed and had showed
a high degree of alertness in their reactions.
Mandlmeier appeared to have driven for more than 1km on the
wrong side of the road before the collision, having adopted
the wrong side after pulling away from a layby near Lake
Mr Burbury recommended that rental companies and the New
Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) improve and regulate vehicle
signs and road markings to avoid such accidents.
Wicked Campers founder John Webb said his company was not a
member of the Rental Vehicle Association.
"Until yesterday I'd never heard of it," he told the hearing.
The van involved in the fatality was an old model and did not
Since the accident, Wicked Campers had contacted the NZTA to
obtain more 'keep left' stickers, which it hoped to put in
all vehicles currently being used.
"I didn't know it was such a big issue," Mr Webb said.
Mr Burbury could not say if the accident would have been
survivable if more modern safety features were in place but
he recommended the use of these features.
He also suggested NZTA place more direction arrows on the
roads on both sides of tourist attractions to remind drivers
of the road rules.
NZTA highway manager Colin Knaggs said more lane direction
arrows had been added to the highway near the crash site.
Transport officers manager Anthony McNeill said NZTA had no
power to enforce the distribution of safety pamphlets, use of
stickers or membership of the Rental Vehicle Association.