Driver fatigue the focus of latest road safety campaign

Driver fatigue the focus of latest road safety campaign

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Drivers are being advised to 'Stop Sip Sleep' this August Bank Holiday Weekend.
Drivers are being advised not to drive when tired this August Bank Holiday Weekend.

An Garda Síochána in partnership with The Road Safety Authority (RSA) launched their August Bank Holiday Road Safety Campaign and published a review of road safety in 2016 this week.

The August Bank Holiday Road Safety Campaign which will focus on the issue of driver fatigue. It is estimated that driver fatigue could play a role in up to 1 in 5 fatal road collisions in Ireland. The RSA and An Garda Síochána have published a provisional review of road fatalities so far which shows that from January to 21 July of this year, 93 people died on Irish roads in 89 collisions. This is an increase of seven deaths and eight collisions when compared to the same period last year. The RSA has predicted that if the current trend continues, up to 80 more people could die before the end of the year.

According to the review;

  • Road deaths have increased by 8% when compared to 2015 figures.
  • 43 drivers, 18 passengers, 16 pedestrians, 11 motorcyclists and 5 cyclists have been killed on Irish roads up to July 21st.
  • Driver deaths have increased by 10% and passenger deaths have increased by 29%.
  • 24 road-users aged 66+ have been killed on our roads to date this year, an increase of 11 on last year’s figures; there was also an increase among 26-35 year olds with 21 killed to date this year, compared to 13 last year
  • However, deaths among 16-25 year olds decreased by 10 from 23 to 13
  • Where known, seven drivers and four passengers killed were reported as not wearing a seatbelt ; 11 pedestrians killed were not wearing any high-visibility materials
  • The highest number of fatalities was recorded in Cork (17)
  • Saturday and Sunday had the highest number of fatalities with 16 and 18 respectively
  • One third of fatalities occurred between 4pm and 8pm.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, An Garda Síochána stated “We appeal to the public to be responsible in relation to drinking and driving, especially coming into the August bank holiday period. Never, ever drink and drive. Never take a lift off someone who has been drinking and make every effort to dissuade that drink driver from driving – if necessary contact the Gardaí. You could be saving a life, yours, theirs or someone else’s.”

Reid continued: “Nearly one third of all drivers killed between 2008 and 2012 had alcohol in their system. This is a startling and unacceptable fact, and one which urgently needs addressing. To this end, and during this high risk summer period, our members are conducting additional drink driving enforcement and educational activity. In addition, we are concentrating our activity on high risk areas, where drink drivers are likely to be found, i.e. on rural and regional roads. There has been more drink driving arrests in 2016 compared to 2015, with a significant increase in July this year compared to July 2015. It is imperative we target high risk drivers and make the roads safer for all.”

Commenting on the review, Liz O’Donnell, Chairman, RSA said: “Unfortunately, our review shows that road fatalities have increased this year. The increases are particularly evident among drivers, passengers and older road-users. If the current trend continues, we stand to lose almost 80 people in preventable and unnecessary road collisions.

“Complacency is our biggest challenge over the next six months. We need to get the basics right every single time we use the roads. This means not driving impaired, not speeding, wearing our seatbelts, making sure we’re visible to other road-users and avoiding distraction and fatigue. We need to take personal responsibility and not take unnecessary risks that put ourselves – or others – in danger. By sharing the road safely together, we can all play a role in saving lives.”

Between 2011 and 2015, 11 people were killed and 34 people were seriously injured over the August Bank Holiday period. This weekend, the RSA is teaming up with Applegreen to provide free cups of coffee to help drivers to combat tiredness behind the wheel. Simply mention ‘RSA’ to the till operator at any Applegreen Service Station nationwide to avail of a free coffee.

Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA said: “Bank holiday weekends are a high-risk period for all road-users, especially drivers, as there are more people on the roads travelling longer distances. So there is an even greater need for attention behind the wheel and a sense of shared responsibility when using the roads.”

“Driver fatigue is something we all suffer from time to time, particularly people who drive long distances or do shift work. However, research suggests that it is as dangerous as drink-driving and could be a factor in up to 20% of driver deaths every year. It’s critical to recognise the symptoms and to take action before it’s too late. Pull in, sip a coffee or caffeinated drink, and take a 15 minute nap. After that, you should be ok to drive for another hour or so.”

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