28/11/2011

Half of Drivers Stop On Motorway To Use Phone

Half of Irish drivers have broken the highway code by stopping on the motorway to use their phone, according to a survey published on Monday.

AA Ireland and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said they are reminding all road-users that it is breach of the code to stop on the hard-shoulder except in the case of an emergency.

The survey, conducted by AA Ireland of 8,400 drivers, revealed that almost half of drivers had stopped on the hard shoulder of a motorway to make or receive a call.

AA said that in response to the "lack of awareness" the RSA was broadcasting a new 30 second radio advert on national and local radio from this week.

Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy, AA Ireland said: “A motorway hard shoulder is an extremely dangerous place to be and should only be used in an emergency, for example, if your car breaks down and you can’t restart it. It’s alarming the number of motorists willing to casually pull over and put themselves and their passengers in a dangerous situation, and all too often to respond to a text or answer a call.”

“If you experience car trouble, make your way to the nearest exit or designated rest area and find a safe place to pull in before calling for assistance. If this is not an option, pull in as far as you can and use your hazard lights to alert traffic behind you. To reduce the risk of breaking down on the motorway, please ensure you have plenty of fuel in your tank before you head off. AA Patrols are called to an average of 60 motorists per week on the motorway network, and four of those are for people who have completely run out of fuel.”

The number of people found to be walking on motorways was also of serious concern to the RSA and AA Ireland. Noel Brett, CEO, RSA told road-users that stopping or walking on a motorway was extremely dangerous and could lead to death or serious injury. "Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users and when exposed to vehicles travelling at speeds of up to 120km/h, the risk of death or injury are greatly increased.

"Last year, four pedestrians were killed on Irish motorways, representing one in five of all motorway deaths."

During the AA poll 236 individual motorists admitted to the "ludicrous practice" of stopping to either collect or drop off a passenger on a motorway hard shoulder, placing both themselves and the pedestrian in question even more so in highly dangerous position.

The survey also found that one in five drivers have stopped on a motorway hard shoulder to take a nap.

Since 2005, almost 100 people have been killed or seriously injured as a result of collisions on Ireland’s motorway network. Of these, eight people died and 14 were seriously injured in 2010, which is the worst year since 2007 when 26 people were killed or seriously injured.

(DW)

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