Driving fitness queries in Tas fatality

·1-min read

An 80-year-old woman who died after a car crash in Tasmania was unaccustomed to driving her new manual vehicle, wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was the subject of fitness to drive queries.

The woman failed to give way in the west coast town of Strahan in September 2021 despite a visible sign, colliding with another car before crashing heavily into a power pole.

She was flown to the Royal Hobart Hospital and died about two weeks later.

In findings published on Thursday, coroner Olivia McTaggart ruled the likely causes of the woman's crash were inattention and difficulties operating a manual car.

"She had been driving her new Toyota ... for about one month before the crash but struggled with changing gears and drove only in second gear," Ms McTaggart wrote.

"The Strahan police officers ... were monitoring her competence with her new vehicle but had not observed any significant issues, other than to note that she was driving more slowly than previously.

"Nevertheless, Constable Wayne Bradford had put in train inquiries with the Department of State Growth licensing unit to determine her fitness to drive, which were pending at the time of her death."

Ms McTaggart ruled local police had taken appropriate steps to monitor the woman's driving and no more could have been reasonably done by the date of her crash.

The car was mechanically sound and roadworthy, Ms McTaggart said.