Shirley Hunt: Prevention of future deaths report

Road (Highways Safety) related deaths

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Date of report: 20/03/2024

Ref: 2024-0156

Deceased name: Shirley Hunt

Coroner name: Alison Norton

Coroner Area: York and North Yorkshire

Category: Road (Highways Safety) related deaths

This report is being sent to: Department for Transport

The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Department for Transport
I am Alison Norton, Assistant coroner for the coroner area of York and North Yorkshire.
I make this report under paragraph 7, Schedule 5, of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and regulations 28 and 29 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.
On 31 August 2021 I commenced an investigation into the death of Shirley Ann HUNT aged 44. The investigation concluded at the end of the inquest on 08 March 2024. The conclusion of the inquest was that:   On the 24th August 2021, Shirley Ann Hunt was a travelling in the rear of a motorhome on the A64, Barton Hill. The front near side tyre unexpectedly deflated and the motorhome collided with a stationery vehicle. Shirley Ann Hunt suffered multiple injuries. Her injuries were not survivable. Her death was confirmed at the scene of the collision, namely the A64, Barton Hill, at 20.08 on the 24th August 2021.
On the 24th August 2021, Shirley Ann Hunt was travelling in the rear living area of a motorhome vehicle, on the A64 Barton Hill, when the front near side tyre of the vehicle deflated, leading to a collision with a stationery vehicle. Shirley Ann Hunt died instantaneously due to her multiple injuries. The vehicle had been converted into a motorhome, having originally been a works van. There were no seatbelts in the rear of the vehicle.
During the course of the investigation my inquiries revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.  

The MATTERS OF CONCERN are as follows: (brief summary of matters of concern)  
Evidence given during the inquest indicated that there is no legal obligation for seat belts to be fitted in the rear areas of motorhomes, for passengers to use when the vehicle is in motion. Whilst it was not possible to establish whether Shirley Ann Hunt would have survived the impact if she had been wearing a seatbelt, as a wider point of public safety, I am concerned that adults and children over three years can travel in the rear areas of motorhomes without restraint, and that in doing so, this may create a risk to life.
In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you (and/or your organisation) have the power to take such action.
You are under a duty to respond to this report within 56 days of the date of this report, namely by May 15, 2024. I, the coroner, may extend the period.
Your response must contain details of action taken or proposed to be taken, setting out the timetable for action. Otherwise, you must explain why no action is proposed.
I have sent a copy of my report to the Chief Coroner and to the following Interested Persons
I have also sent it to
Chief Constable for North Yorkshire, [REDACTED]
who may find it useful or of interest.
I am also under a duty to send a copy of your response to the Chief Coroner and all interested persons who in my opinion should receive it.
I may also send a copy of your response to any person who I believe may find it useful or of interest.
The Chief Coroner may publish either or both in a complete or redacted or summary form. He may send a copy of this report to any person who he believes may find it useful or of interest.
You may make representations to me, the coroner, at the time of your response about the release or the publication of your response by the Chief Coroner.
9Dated: 20th March 2024
Alison Norton
Assistant coroner for the coroner area of York and North Yorkshire