National News

Tas mum unlicensed in tragic fatal crash

A Tasmanian mother-of-five who tragically died after crashing an unroadworthy van had been illegally driving in the state for a decade before the accident.

Catherine Arundel-Clarke, 34, was taking her then-10-year-old daughter home from a birthday party in Launceston on a March afternoon in 2018.

But driving in wet conditions she lost control on a left-hand turn on a rural road north of the city and struck a metal post.

Mrs Arundel-Clarke's daughter was able to scramble from the wreckage and flag down passing motorists but her mother died at the scene.

A coroner's report released on Tuesday found the van's tyres and front seatbelts didn't meet regulations and Mrs Arundel-Clarke had never held a full licence.

She first got her learner plates in August 2008 but wouldn't display them and drove without an authorised supervisor.

Mrs Arundel-Clarke held no licence from 2014 onwards.

Her husband gave evidence she would take their children to school and sporting events and drive five to six days a week but would never travel above 90km/h and was "very cautious".

"She was fully aware of the unlawfulness of her actions and took steps to remain undetected whilst driving," Coroner Olivia McTaggart wrote.

"She should have also been aware that her lack of skill could well pose serious risks to the safety of herself, her young children and other road users.

"It is incredibly fortunate that her young daughter survived the crash unhurt.

"However, her five children are now, tragically, without a mother."

Tasmania Police never picked up Mrs Arundel-Clarke's illegal driving across the ten years.

She had previously lost and then regained control of the van on the same road about two years before the fatal crash but didn't receive any professional direction afterwards, Coroner McTaggart wrote.

© AAP 2020