A SENIOR coroner has raised concerns about the welfare of food delivery riders after a fatal collision involving a Deliveroo driver in Basingstoke.

At an inquest into the death of Marcos Martins, held at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday, January 28, senior coroner Mr Christopher Wilkinson concluded that the 34-year-old had been distracted by his smartphone when he rode his moped into the back of a stationary HGV lorry on Churchill Way on May 19 2020.

He said: “In any normal circumstance, it would be expected that someone would be aware of the vehicle and would have been able to take evasive action.

“The only explanation for that can be that in those last few seconds Mr Martins was somehow distracted. My view is that it is more likely than not that, having left his home shortly before, he could well have been looking to see and plan his route for the delivery he was making.”

Mr Wilkinson went on to raise concerns about food delivery drivers more widely, after the forensics specialist present in court revealed that several other riders who arrived at the scene had the “exact same” mobile device set-up on their vehicles.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I have to say, whether or not those facts were exactly what had happened in terms of his distraction, I am concerned that there is a possibility that if he could have been distracted, other delivery drivers could have been distracted if using those devices in a similar way.

“My concern is that there were a number of other riders with very similar set-ups. If it's a group of friends or family with the same idea, that is one thing, but does not reduce the risk. If it is a wider thing that is a big concern.”

In most cases, food delivery drivers receive orders on their mobile devices, and customers can track the arrival of their take-away as the drivers device uses GPS to mark their route.

However, its engagement with the device, to check directions or receive incoming orders en route, which was a worry to the coroner.

He asked police whether details of any similar, if not fatal, incidents would be available, but the officers present felt this was unlikely.

“The problem I face is how one deals with that because, while I have a concern about the distraction specifically for delivery drivers, my understanding is there are a number of companies involved and each individual rider is almost self-employed, and that makes it difficult to know to whom to write,” said Mr Wilkinson.

“There are concerns as a result of this incident, for delivery drivers, and I think that is a public service message. I need to give further consideration as to whether there is anything else I can do to raise those concerns.”

Stressing the importance of vigilance with regard to using devices while on the road, he added: “This is something people need to be aware of, they need to be acutely aware of the risks which contact with navigation and app devices might pose.”

The Gazette has contacted Deliveroo for comment.