Driver distraction is the cause of the fatal head-on crash at the Waiari Stream Bridge last year that killed one man and injured two others.
The driver of the 3.2 tonne Mazda titan truck dropped a packet of tobacco while passing it to a passenger before the crash near Te Puke in September last year.
Police investigating the scene of the crash on the Waiari Stream Bridge.
The crash killed the driver’s cousin Zephyr Mark IV McGaughlin, 18, of Pukehina, and injured the two other men in the car.
Neither the driver, Terangimatoru Veikoso, 28, or the three passengers were wearing seat belts at the time.
Terangimotoru Veikoso appeared for sentence in Tauranga District Court this week after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of careless driving causing death, and two charges of careless driving causing injury.
He was sentenced to 400 hours of community work, six months supervision, and disqualified from driving for a year.
At the time of the crash all three passengers in the truck had been forbidden to drive and Terangimatoru only held a learner’s licence.
The truck had been pink stickered by police because it had not held a warrant of fitness since 2004.
The crash happened when Veikoso glanced down to retrieve the dropped tobacco. The truck veered, he lost control and collided head on with a ute towing a trailer.
The three passengers were thrown through the windscreen.
Zephyr Mark IV died at the scene, the other two suffered serious fractures. Terangimatoru Veikoso was also seriously injured.