Warning issued over seatbelts after van crash

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PROFESSIONAL drivers have been warned to wear seatbelts at all times following the death of a delivery man.

Van driver Tibor Darazs, from Milton, was thrown through the driver’s window of his Mercedes Sprinter after a collision with a car, Southampton Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.

The 22-year-old was in Grately, north Hampshire, in his work van when the accident happened at 2pm on August 31 last year. He suffered massive head injuries and died the next day.

Mary Campbell described how she was driving her Mercedes estate along the B3084, a main road, when she came to the junction with Grately Drove.

Mrs Campbell, from Wiltshire, said: ‘I was aware of the junction and there was absolutely nothing there until impact.

‘I seem to remember there was a flash of white and then we hit.

‘It wasn’t that I did not see it. It was that there was not anything there.’

Mr Darazs had been driving south west along Grately Drove but failed to stop at the give-way markings, despite having passed several warning signs leading up to the junction.

The inquest heard from accident investigator PC Drew McDonnell who said the tyre markings showed Mr Darazs had drifted across to wrong side of the country lane immediately before the accident.

He estimated both vehicles were travelling at between 30mph and 40mph. Analysis of Mr Darazs’s mobile phone showed he had taken a call but it finished at least five minutes before the crash.

He may have been using the iPhone for satellite navigation but there was no way of checking that, the inquest heard.

Toxicology tests showed no alcohol or drugs in Mr Darazs’s system.

PC Drew said a ‘tunnel effect’ from driving through a canopy of trees on the long rural road may have caused Mr Darazs to mistakenly think the road continued.

He said: ‘Having passed several warning signs and road markings to indicate advanced warnings of the junction it would be my opinion that in order to emerge he would have to travel extremely slowly to negotiate that junction.’

It is not known why he did not.

Coroner Grahame Short ruled Mr Darazs’s death, from multiple injuries, was accidental.

He added: ‘While I can’t be totally confident that he would have survived if he had been wearing a seatbelt I do believe that his chance of surviving would have been significantly higher if he had been. I know it must be tempting, particularly for delivery drivers, not to belt up on every occasion, but these sort of incidents reinforce the need to do it every time.’

Mr Darazs moved to Portsmouth from his native Hungary to live with his father in 2012.

His parents attended the inquest and had proceedings translated by an interpreter.