Road Safety Authority warns that driver fatigue could be a factor in up to 20% of fatal road accidents.
Garda Traffic Corp chief issues ‘wake up call’ - Nights out and driving don’t mix.
20,000 free cups of coffee to be given out at Topaz stations to encourage drivers to “take a break to stay awake”
Wednesday October 22nd 2008. In the run up to the Bank Holiday weekend the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Gardai have warned of the dangers of driving while tired. The RSA pointed out that driver fatigue could be a factor in up to one in five serious collisions. And to help get people to their destinations safely this Bank Holiday weekend the country’s largest fuels and convenience business, Topaz is to give away up to 20,000 free teas and coffees at their network of company owned sites throughout the country.
Supporting the campaign Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority said “This initiative from Topaz is particularly timely as we approach a Bank Holiday weekend, always a high risk period on our roads.” Advising drivers Mr. Brett added, “Those most at risk from driver fatigue are drivers who try to fight the effects of sleep when driving. Tactics such as turning up the volume on the radio and opening the window do not work. If a driver drops off for just 2 seconds while traveling at a speed of 100 km/h the car will have traveled 55 metres” he said.
“As soon as you realise you are fighting the urge to go to sleep you should stop driving. The best way to cope with this problem is to park in a safe place, drink one or two cups of coffee and then take a fifteen minute nap.” “Caffeine takes about twenty five minutes to enter a person’s system and start working. So, by the time you wake up the caffeine should have taken effect. Following the nap stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You should now be fit to drive for about another hour. However in cases of extreme tiredness the only cure for a lack of sleep is sleep.” Mr. Brett concluded.
Echoing those comments Assistant Commissioner Eddie Rock said “Late nights and driving don’t mix. You have to allow your body adequate time to recover. Getting behind the wheel early the following morning after a late night makes no sense whether drinking or not”. Turning to the other major causes of accidents on our roads he said that substantial numbers of Gardai from the Traffic Corp will be on duty across the country manning speed checks and carrying out random breath tests on drivers. He said this was the first Bank Holiday weekend that the Traffic Corp’s 8 new mobile speed detection units would be in use and they would enable the force to apprehend many more irresponsible drivers”
The Chief Executive of Topaz Danny Murray said: “All drivers have to do is show their car keys to staff at the 105 company owned Topaz service stations nationwide on Friday the 24th and request a free tea or coffee. Posters advertising the free teas and coffees will be in place outside all participating stations. I fully endorse Mr. Brett’s and Asst. Commissioner Rock’s comments. Everyone at Topaz is delighted to support the RSA, the Gardai and all other state agencies involved in reducing traffic accidents on our roads.”
The three were speaking at a road safety event in County Kildare. The Drive Safe, Drive Smart campaign - sponsored by Mazda and Topaz - highlighted the fact that driving at moderate speeds not alone saves lives, but also money through increased fuel economy and is also good for the environment.
Editors Note. RSA’s tips for beating driver fatigue below.
Top Tips for beating fatigue
• If you start to feel tired, stop driving and park the car in a safe place.
• Drink two cups of coffee. Caffeine takes between twenty and thirty minutes to enter a person’s system and take effect.
• Take a 15 minute nap. By the time you wake up, the caffeine should have taken effect.
• Get out of the car, stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You should now be fit to drive for another hour or so.
• In cases of extreme tiredness brought on by sleep deprivation, the only cure is sleep.