RSA Chief warns that collisions caused by tiredness are 3 times more likely to be fatal or result in serious injury.
Wednesday 21st Oct 2009. In the run up to the October Bank Holiday weekend the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Charmaine Kenny, has given her full backing to a campaign which highlights the dangers of driver fatigue.
Kildare born Charmaine, who represented London in this year’s Rose of Tralee competition, said everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car needs to be fully alert at all times.
Her call came as the Road Safety Authority and Topaz announced details of their Driver Reviver Campaign ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend. As part of the campaign Topaz provides up to 20,000 free coffees to drivers on Bank Holiday Fridays at their network of company owned sites all over the country. This weekend the RSA and Topaz are putting the emphasis on the main arterial routes around the country. Research has shown that if tired motorists have a cup of coffee, followed by a 15 minute nap, they can continue driving for a further hour.
Charmaine said she believed that while a lot of people knew about the dangers of drink driving or speeding many people were not aware of the dangers of driver fatigue. ”Given the hectic lifestyles we all lead today drivers need to learn more about this issue. A lot of the time it’s not about the night out itself but the day after and how we are feeling. Or maybe we’ve just had a bad night’s sleep. I wasn’t aware for example that 1 in 7 Irish people have admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving (RSA research April 09). Or that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in 350 driver deaths in Ireland over the past 5 years. Driver fatigue really is the silent killer” she said.
Noel Brett, CEO the RSA said, It’s now scientifically proven that if a driver persists in fighting sleep while driving the impairment level is the same as driving while over the drink drive limit. Tiredness related collisions are also 3 times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action. If you are fighting sleep at the wheel, stop immediately. If you can, drink a cup of coffee or caffeine drink but most importantly take a 15 to 20 minute nap. Following the nap stretch your legs and get some fresh air. By following this advice you should be able to drive for another hour or more.”
Paul Candon, Corporate Services Directo at Topaz, said the company was delighted to play its part in highlighting the issue. “People need to change their behaviour and plan for breaks in long journeys if feeling tired. Obviously at Bank Holidays more people are traveling long distances so this weekend the RSA and ourselves are putting the emphasis on those drivers and urging them to stop off and grab a coffee. It could make all the difference”
Driver Reviver Campaign
On Bank Holiday Fridays motorists can visit over 130 participating Topaz sites and claim a free coffee by showing their car keys. This weekend the RSA and Topaz are putting the emphasis on those traveling along the main arterial routes and urging any drivers who are feeling tired to stop off, have a coffee and take a short break. Details of the sites on the main arterial routes – and other participating sites - can be found on the RSA and Topaz websites, www.rsa.ie or www.topaz.ie. The Driver Reviver Campaign was recently awarded a Chambers Ireland President’s Award for highlighting the issue of driver fatigue.
More information on driver tiredness can be found in the RSA’s booklet ‘Driver Tiredness – The Facts’ and can be downloaded from the RSA website www.rsa.ie. A copy of the RSA’s research on driver fatigue can also be downloaded from www.rsa.ie.
What to do if you are a tired driver?
1. NEVER DRIVE IF YOU'RE FIGHTING SLEEP.
2. When you start fighting sleep at the wheel, your impairment is as dangerous as driving over the legal alcohol limit.
3. Stop and take a nap for 15 minutes- (set your mobile phone alarm)
4. To really make the most of your break take a Caffeine drink before the nap (150mg of Caffeine e.g. 2 cups of coffee).
5. After the nap, get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
6. By following all of the above advice you should be able to drive for another hour or more.