Road Safety Campaign To Target Tired Drivers

An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while tired.

The joint campaign has been launched as road fatality figures show that over the past five years, 12 people have been killed and 27 people have been seriously injured on Irish roads over this period.

It is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland every year. Furthermore, tiredness-related collisions are 3 times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action.

A survey of drivers' attitudes to driver fatigue conducted by the RSA in 2014 revealed that over 1 in 10 motorists have fallen asleep at the wheel. The survey also found that motorists who drive as part of their work, and motorists who admit to driving after taking any amount of alcohol, had a higher than average incidence of falling asleep at the wheel (almost 1 in 5 fell asleep at the wheel).

The RSA has produced a 40 second TV ad which provides drivers with advice on what to do if they feel sleepy while driving. If a driver fights sleep while driving, it's the same as driving while over the drink drive limit. The message behind the ad is to recognise the signs that you are too tired to continue driving, and then Stop, Sip, Sleep – Stop the car in a safe place, Sip a caffeine drink, and Sleep for 15-20 minutes. This should enable you to continue driving for another hour or so. 

Minister for Transport, Mr Paschal Donohoe TD said: "Thousands of people will be taking to the roads this weekend and for many, there are long journeys ahead. Driver fatigue can creep up on you slowly and it is impossible to fight it while you are driving. Yet the risks can be tragic. So recognise the signs that you are becoming tired behind the wheel of the car, take appropriate action and protect yourself, your passengers and other road-users. Equally, if you're a passenger in a car being driven by a tired driver, speak up. Ask the driver to pull over safely, and follow the Stop. Sip. Sleep advice. Let's all work together to ensure this bank holiday weekend is free from tragedy."

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said:

"Bank holiday weekends are more dangerous than others, simply because there are more people on the road who are travelling longer distances than normal. Because of this, we need to adjust our behaviour on the roads and take the necessary precautions. Factor breaks into your journey, particularly if you are travelling with children. Make sure you are well rested before you take to the roads and if you begin to feel tired, pull over, have a cup of coffee and take a 15 to 20 minute nap, then some fresh air. This should allow you to continue driving for another hour or so."

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, Garda National Traffic Bureau added: "Since 2010, 39 people have been killed and seriously injured on our roads over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Driver fatigue is the silent killer on our roads, particularly when people are travelling long distances. We all need to be wary of being weary. An Garda Síochána will be out in force over the bank holiday weekend to address all aspects of road traffic enforcement with a particular emphasis on high risk, irresponsible behaviour. Last August bank holiday Gardaí dealt with 160 drink drivers, over 2,700 speeders, over 200 drivers holding a mobile a phone whilst driving and over 150 drivers not wearing a safety belt."

Chief Superintendent Curran continued: "Although this year shows a very welcome reduction in road deaths and persons seriously injured, none of us can be complacent. So please, drive with caution, and share the roads responsibly and safely.

I would like to remind cyclists that the new FCPNs (Fixed Charge Penalty Notice) come in to effect this Friday (31st July 2015 ) and would urge greater compliance with traffic light, signals etc. Everyone has has a part to play in making the road safer."

Ms Murdock continued:-

"This year, we are partnering with Applegreen again on our Driver Reviver campaign where drivers can get a free cup of coffee at any of the participating Applegreen stations. I would urge all drivers to plan their journeys with this in mind and don't try to fight sleep at the wheel. Turning the radio up or opening the window will not cure tiredness. The only cure for tiredness is sleep."

Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers at 15 participating service stations. The campaign will run between 2pm and 8pm on the Friday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend. All drivers need to do is mention ‘RSA' to the till operator to receive a free cup of coffee.

Joe Barrett, Chief Operations Officer of Applegreen said:

"We are delighted to partner with the RSA again on this year's Driver Reviver campaign and to be able to provide drivers with a practical solution to driver fatigue. This Friday and Monday, from 2pm to 8pm, drivers can get a free cup of coffee by mentioning RSA to the till operator at any one of the 15 Applegreen participating stations. Applegreen is proud to play a role in any initiative that helps to keep our roads safe."

The RSA and An Garda Síochána have the following advice for tired drivers:

• Stop, park in a safe place and take a nap for 15 minutes (set your mobile phone alarm). This is the most important tactic.

• To really make the most of the break, take a caffeine drink before the nap (150mg of caffeine e.g. 2 cups of coffee). After the nap, the caffeine should have started to take effect.

• Then get some fresh air and stretch your legs for a few minutes.

• By following all of the above advice you should be able to drive for another hour or so.


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