Coroner urges warning
People who have been drinking, and those around them, have no ability to accurately assess the degree of a driver’s level of intoxication or ability to drive, a coroner has warned.
In his report into the death of Mossburn man Donald Robert Morighan, Coroner David Robinson recommended the NZ Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport publicise the warning.
Morighan died in Dunedin Hospital on November 17, 2015 from a traumatic brain injury after crashing his vehicle at the intersection of State Highway 97 and Acton Downs Road.
He recorded a blood alcohol level of 146mg four hours after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit. Cannabis was also detected in his blood sample.
The Coroner’s report into the death was released on September 20.
A crash analyst identified fatigue as being a potential cause of the crash, but a text message was received on Morighan’s cellphone just minutes before the crash and the Coroner said it was possible he had been distracted.
‘‘It has all the hallmarks of the factors that have been long identified, and well publicised.
‘‘It involves alcohol impaired driving (and potentially drug impaired driving), fatigue, driving at excessive speed, and in a manner not reflecting the road conditions.’’
The Coroner was also critical of those who decided to allow Morighan to drive.
NZTA road safety director Harry Wilson said the agency had a multi-media campaign underway which aimed to educate people and in particular young men to the effects of alcohol on driving and impaired judgment.
‘‘It also offers ideas and ways to keep people safe on our roads when we believe a driver may be affected by drugs or alcohol.
‘‘In this crash the young man was not wearing a seat belt, and the police in particular, as well as other road safety groups and the Transport Agency, stress the need to buckle up and stay buckled up.’’