Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Anita Jade BOARD

Inquest into the Death of Anita Jade BOARD

Delivered on : 14 August 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations : Yes

Recommendation 1
I recommend that ANDRA give consideration to requiring all junior drag racing participants to continue all the way down the track, rather than through the exit gate. In the alternative, if junior drag racers are required to exit through a side gate, then all junior drag racing participants should be required to come to a complete stop before beginning to execute the turn and VenuesWest should give consideration to installing some form of barrier to the corners of the exit gates, in a similar fashion to what is currently in use at the Sydney Dragway.

Recommendation 2
I recommend that VenuesWest give consideration to replacing the previously used white flags at the Perth Motorplex with some form of fixed and highly visible finish markers that can be swung into position on the safety barrier wall to mark the end of the junior track.

Recommendation 3
I recommend that VenuesWest and ANDRA work together, and in consultation with the Junior Drag Racing Association in WA, to create and implement a training programme for new junior drag racers, similar to the current training programme in place at Sydney Dragway. In my opinion, the children should not be able to commence the training programme until they are at least eight years old. It should involve the child going through a number of theoretical and practical tests that the child must pass in stages, assessed by a person other than their parent or guardian, before they are able to drive down the track in a dragster at anything more than idling speed. The speed should then gradually be increased. The training should also involve ‘on the track’ orientation at the Perth Motorplex, so that the child will be familiar with the landmarks before they attempt their first licence pass.

Recommendation 4
I recommend that ANDRA introduce a mandatory requirement that all junior racers must include in their personal safety gear a frontal head restraint device as described and demonstrated at the inquest.

Recommendation 5
I recommend that VenuesWest, in conjunction with ANDRA, make it a requirement at all junior drag racing events at the Perth Motorplex that officials must conduct scrutineering of 25% of the vehicles participating in the junior dragster bracket and complete a full scrutineering of all vehicles once every two years, including driver safety equipment.

Recommendation 6
I recommend that VenuesWest, in conjunction with ANDRA, explore the feasibility of requiring a remote cut-off device to be installed on all junior dragsters.

Recommendation 7
I recommend that, if the junior racers are to continue to exit the track through the side exit gate, then a CCTV camera(s) should be installed at the Perth Motorplex to capture junior dragsters leaving the gate.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased at the time of her death was an eight year old girl who was very much involved in junior drag racing and was attempting to pass her licence in order to compete in junior drag racing at the Perth Motorplex in Kwinana Beach.

On 11 November 2017, two days after the deceased’s eighth birthday, the deceased attended the Perth Motorplex in Kwinana Beach to do her licence pass. The deceased passed a blindfold test, after an initial nervous start and then prepared to do her licence pass on the track. After an aborted first attempt due to a problem with her dragster, the deceased was called up to the line. She moved forward then stopped and seemed to hesitate for a few seconds before she accelerated down the track. It was planned that she would travel at speed briefly, then idle down the track about 200 metres to the finish line. The deceased would then turn to exit the track through a gate that was open about 50 metres past the finish line.

After crossing the finish line, the deceased, did not slow down as expected. She was going too fast to safely negotiate the exit gate. It appeared at first the deceased was going to keep going straight down the track but then she turned left in an apparent attempt to make it through the exit gate. The deceased was going too fast to execute the turn and her dragster crashed into the corner of the concrete safety barrier at the side of the gate.

The deceased was found unconscious and not breathing immediately after the crash, although she did have a weak pulse. Her pulse disappeared when she was extricated from the car. She was rushed by ambulance to hospital and spontaneous circulation was eventually returned after aggressive resuscitation attempts. A CT scan revealed a subarachnoid haemorrhage which extended into the ventricles and down the spine, with a likely spinal cord injury. The deceased was placed in an induced coma but she never recovered.

The Coroner found the deceased’s death was a rare and unexpected event that occurred due to the deceased’s inexperience. The Coroner concluded there was a need for training and induction programme for junior racers and a greater emphasis on building a safety culture amongst the children, parents and organisers of the sport. The Coroner made a number of recommendations in respect to these areas.

Catch Words : Junior Drag Racing : Exit gates : Vehicle and Safety Gear : Safety Culture : Emergency Responses : Visible Finish Markers : Safety Barrier Walls : Practical and Theoretical testing for Juniors : Track Orientation : Installation of Remote Cut-off devices : Misadventure.

Last updated: 14-Nov-2019

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