A Tasmanian coroner has implored drivers to heed road safety messages after finding that a 20-year-old man was drink driving, speeding, not wearing a seat belt and texting while driving an unroadworthy vehicle before fatally crashing at Turners Marsh.
Benjamin Luke Paton, of Underwood, died after crashing a Toyota Landcruiser on Pipers River Road in the early hours of September 27 last year, while his passenger - who was wearing a seal belt - survived.
Remembering Ben Paton: Family pays tribute to his life, sends road warning
Coroner Olivia McTaggart handed down her report into the crash on Monday, finding that any of the risk factors "could have caused his death".
"Mr Paton was driving above the speed limit, with over twice the amount of alcohol in his system permitted by law. He was using a mobile phone whilst driving, was in an unroadworthy vehicle and was not wearing his seat belt. The vehicle did not have airbags," she wrote.
"All of them, in combination, meant that it was a near certainty. It was fortunate that no one else was killed."
The coroner's voice added to the heartfelt plea sent by Mr Paton's family after the crash, who wanted to make sure his life was not "wasted" and the road safety message could prevent trauma for other families.
Mr Paton had been drinking alcohol throughout the evening of September 26 before getting behind the wheel of the Landcruiser. He had a blood-alcohol reading of .110 - more than double the legal limit.
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Police estimated he was travelling between 104km/h and 116km/h in the 100km/h zone when he veered into the gravel on the left side of the road and lost control, causing it to move to the wrong side of the road and come to rest on its roof.
The Landcruiser was found to be unroadworthy, including a non-approved aftermarket Schwitzer turbocharger, off-road mud terrain tyres and a modified suspension which created "an unstable centre mass making it prone to rollover". The speedometer would have displayed an incorrect reading.
A friend also recalled Mr Paton mentioning that he did not wear a seat belt "as he had heard that they were not safe to wear".
Ms McTaggart said repeated warnings about the dangers of unsafe driving were not being followed.
"Warnings by coroners and road safety bodies about the potentially fatal consequences of risk-taking behaviour continue to be ignored," she wrote.
Ms McTaggart conveyed her sincere condolences to Mr Paton's family and loved ones.