Road Safety Authority launches driver fatigue campaign

Research indicates tiredness is a contributing factor to about 20% of road collisions

Chief Supt Mark Curran, Moya Murdock of  the Road Safety Authority and  Stuart Porteous during the launch of the Road Safety Authority’s new TV campaign which focuses on raising awareness of driver fatigue. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Chief Supt Mark Curran, Moya Murdock of the Road Safety Authority and Stuart Porteous during the launch of the Road Safety Authority’s new TV campaign which focuses on raising awareness of driver fatigue. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

A new Road Safety Authority campaign is aiming to raise awareness of the link between driver tiredness and road crashes.

The ‘Signs’ campaign, which will be featured on TV, radio and social media, is being launched as part of the August bank holiday road-safety campaign run by the Road Safety Authority and the Garda.

Research has indicated that 20 per cent of road collisions are attributable to driver fatigue, with those incidents three times more likely to result in fatal or serious injury.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Store Street Garda Station, Chief Supt Mark Curran noted that “inquests [into road crashes] will often find driver fatigue as the main contributing factor”.

The campaign is encouraging drivers who experience tiredness on the roads to “Stop, Sip, Sleep”, or to safely stop the car, sip a caffeinated drink and sleep for 15-20 minutes. This has been identified as a short-term way for drivers to recuperate for up to a further hour of driving.

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, said that Irish drivers have yet to view driver fatigue as seriously as driving under the influence or texting while driving, and hopes that the campaign will raise awareness of the risks involved.

Historically

The August bank holiday has historically been one of the most dangerous weekends on Irish roads.

There have been 12 fatalities and 27 people seriously injured during August bank holiday weekends since 2010. In 2014, gardaí recorded 2,752 cases of speeding, 160 cases of driving under the influence and 206 cases of mobile phone use while driving over the course of the weekend.

Several factors influence the number of incidents during bank holiday weekends, with Ms Murdock noting higher levels of alcohol consumption and drivers travelling to unfamiliar areas as particular concerns.

Chief Supt Curran said that gardaí would be targeting drunk driving, speeding, mobile phone use, and driving without seatbelts on high-risk national and primary roads.

There have been 90 deaths on Irish roads so far this year, down from 112 at this point in 2014.

The campaign will debut on RTÉ One at 6.20pm on Thursday.