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Enhancing Road Safety: Addressing Traffic Management in Truck Driver Fatalities

Truck Driver Death Due to Poor Traffic Management

Businesses have a responsibility to prioritize the safety of their workers, especially when it comes to working around vehicles. Failing to do so can have devastating consequences, as highlighted by a recent incident in Southland, New Zealand. McLellan Freight Limited, a company contracted to load and unload palm kernel extract, was recently sentenced following the death of a truck driver due to poor traffic management.

The Importance of Clear Separation

According to WorkSafe New Zealand, clear separation of workers and moving vehicles is crucial in any workplace. Designated safe zones for people, alongside bollards or barriers to control traffic flow, are cost-effective ways to ensure safety. In this case, McLellan Freight was found to have inadequate traffic management systems in place and failed to consult with the other trucking firms it worked with to manage risks. The focus should be on preventing dangerous situations for workers rather than solely relying on their vigilance.

Practical Safety Measures

Implementing specific safety measures could have significantly reduced the risk of harm in this situation. WorkSafe New Zealand recommends the following:

    • Assigning a dedicated spotter to guide the driver at all times.
    • Using a stop line or safety cone to clearly indicate where drivers should stop.
    • Installing a reversing camera on loaders to improve visibility.
    • Utilizing proximity sensors to alert drivers to potential hazards.
    • Using blue light indicators on vehicles when appropriate.

These practical tips can be easily implemented in any workplace to enhance safety and prevent accidents.

Legal Consequences

Following a trial, McLellan Freight Limited was found guilty of health and safety failures. They were sentenced to a fine of $577,500 and ordered to pay reparations of $115,896. Transport Services Southland Limited and Herberts Transport Limited, the trucking firms involved, also pleaded guilty and received their sentences in October 2022.


Tragic incidents like the one in Southland serve as a reminder of the importance of effective traffic management in the workplace. Businesses must prioritize safety and implement practical measures to protect workers. By following the recommended safety measures and consulting with other involved parties, companies can prevent accidents and save lives.

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