A senior coroner is demanding DfT take action to warn HGV drivers, operators and truck manufacturers that tray tables placed on dashboards can lead to fatal accidents by creating dangerous blindspots.

The call follows an inquest into the death of Dr. Suzanna Bull who died in 2017 when she was knocked off her bike and dragged under a 32-tonne Scania truck as it turned left in Birmingham city centre.

The Coroners Court heard that the driver, Robert Bradbury, who was employed by Birmingham-based S&J Transport, had obscured his vision from the front and nearside by placing a tray table on his dashboard which held personal items including a sat nav device, an electric fan, ornaments and toys.

Both Scania Tamworth and the DVSA gave evidence during the criminal trial that the fitting of the aftermarket tray was deemed dangerous and as such the truck would have failed its MOT.

Bradbury was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and jailed for 21 months. He also received a 34-month driving ban.

S&J Transport, which admitted an offence under health and safety law by failing to supervise the use of the tables, was fined £112,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

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In a Regulation 28 report, which was sent to DfT, Scania, RHA, S&J Transport and Bradbury last week, Birmingham and Solihull senior coroner, Louise Hunt, warned that “future deaths will occur unless action is taken".

She added: “When this table was fitted it created a huge blind spot and had the tray not been placed on the dashboard Dr. Bull would have been seen for at least five seconds.

“With the tray in place it is probable that she could not be seen by the lorry driver.”

She also called for tray tables to carry clear warnings that they should not be in place when the vehicle is in motion.

The coroner added: “There is no general warning to lorry manufacturers and haulage firms to advise against the use of such trays in a moving vehicle due to the blind spot it creates.

“Consideration should be given to sending out a warning to all manufacturers and users to highlight the concern.”

DVSA told MT this week it will be taking action to raise awareness with operators. Neil Barlow, DVSA head of vehicle policy and engineering said: “We thank the Coroner for highlighting this important issue. DVSA will communicate with the industry to ensure guidance is clear, and available to all.”

In its response to the coroner’s report RHA said that it has no regulatory powers to mandate its members to take action but would “notify, inform and educate” its members to prevent further accidents.

DfT has yet to respond for requests for comment.