Ireland: The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána has jointly launched the August Bank Holiday Road Safety Campaign, as road fatality figures show that over the past five years (2010 to 2014), 12 people have been killed and 27 people have been seriously injured on Irish roads over this period.
The focus of this year’s campaign is driver fatigue and to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while tired, the RSA will be screening a new TV ad campaign ‘Signs’ in the lead-up to the bank holiday weekend.
It is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as one in five driver deaths in Ireland every year. Furthermore, tiredness-related collisions are three 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 one 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 one in five 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 get some fresh air. This should allow you to continue driving for another hour or so.”