Monday, November 5, 2012

New Zealand: Canadian Driver, 50, Responsible for Companion's Death, Convicted of Careless Driving Resulting in Loss of Life

Glen Hamilton, 50, a Canadian tourist who was driving a compact rental car when he failed to yield the right-of-way to a tractor-trailer which resulted in the death of his companion, Catherine Elizabeth Clarke, 46,on Thursday afternoon (November 1) was convicted of  careless driving resulting in the death of another earlier this morning (November 5) where he was sentenced to a suspension of his driving privileges for six months.

The crash happened at a controlled intersection of State Highway 2 and SH25 near Maramarua; police said the truck had right of way.

COMMENT: In point of fact, suspension of Mr. Hamilton's driving privileges is a moot point, considering that he will return to Canada in the days ahead. Yet, he will have to reckon with Ms. Clarke's death the rest of his life, which is far more punishment than the court could render.

In September, American Kirsten Steinke survived a collision near Waitomo that killed her newlywed husband, Kallan Stithem.

In May, three US students were killed near Turangi when their vehicle ran off the road as they travelled to walk the Tongariro Crossing. American Stephen Houseman, 20, was convicted and disqualified from driving for six months.

As I have said in previous postings, I strongly recommend against travelers coming from right-hand drive nations to rent a car immediately upon arrival in New Zealand. 

It is far better for visitors to fully rest up before they contemplate driving in what is increasingly one of the most difficult countries to drive in.