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Engineering NZ upholds complaint about tuk-tuk design

Engineering New Zealand upholds complaint about tuk-tuk design

Engineering New Zealand has upheld a complaint against Wellington engineer Dick Joyce concerning design and certification of tuk-tuks.

In September 2016, Mr Joyce signed Inspection Certificates for seven tuk-tuks (four in Wellington and three in Auckland) certifying they met structural strength and stability requirements of the Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999.

In December 2016, one of the tuk-tuks operating in Wellington was involved in a serious rollover crash. The damage suffered by the tuk-tuk raised questions about its design and certification.

The NZ Transport Agency’s preliminary investigation also revealed Mr Joyce had not viewed the Auckland tuk-tuks before signing their Inspection Certificates. NZTA subsequently complained to Engineering New Zealand about Mr Joyce’s actions in signing the Inspection Certificates for the seven tuk-tuks.

Engineering New Zealand’s Disciplinary Committee determined that the structural strength of the tuk-tuks was insufficient to provide reasonable protection for their occupants.

“The certification of vehicles for passenger service is a safety-critical task, and members of the public rightly rely on regulators such as NZTA to protect them from harm. Regulators, in turn, rely upon experts including professional engineers to carry out their role competently,” the Disciplinary Committee said in its decision.

“Mr Joyce has departed from what could be expected of a reasonable engineer, and this departure is serious.”

Mr Joyce is currently suspended from membership of Engineering New Zealand in relation to a previous upheld complaint. The Disciplinary Committee ordered that this suspension would continue for a further three years, starting from February 2020. During this period of suspension, Mr Joyce must fulfil requirements for professional development specified by the previous Disciplinary Committee before he can be considered for readmission as a member.

Mr Joyce must also pay $15,000 towards the costs incurred by Engineering New Zealand in investigating his conduct.

“There needs to be a measure of public protection in our orders while also recognising that there is potential for Mr Joyce to learn from this matter and rehabilitate. In making this order, we are mindful that an engineer suspended from membership is deprived of the peer support and other collegial aspects of belonging to a professional body, but we are of the view that this consideration is outweighed by the need to protect the public,” the Disciplinary Committee said.

Read the decision

/ends

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