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02nd Aug 2013

Free Coffee for tired drivers on Irish roads today

Safety is paramount on Irish roads at all times and on Bank Holiday weekends more than ever. So if you find yourself nodding off at the wheel today, pull into an Applegreen and grab a free brew to perk yourself up.


Safety is paramount on Irish roads at all times and on Bank Holiday weekends more than ever. So if you find yourself nodding off at the wheel today, pull into an Applegreen and grab a free brew to perk yourself up.

Due to the fact that accidents on Irish roads are more likely than ever to happen on Bank Holiday weekends with increased volumes of traffic on the road, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), along with the Garda Siochana, tend to drive home the message of safety on the roads whenever we have cause to celebrate a three-day weekend.

This Bank Holiday weekend, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have teamed up with Applegreen to launch a campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of driver fatigue. As a result, between 2pm and 8pm today, Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm at 17 participating service stations around the country.

Drivers simply have to mention the ‘RSA’ to the till operator and they will receive a free cup of coffee on Friday to ensure they get to their destination safely.

The campaign comes as a result of findings showing that almost two thirds of drivers (60%) attempt to fight tiredness while driving, using ineffective means such as opening windows, singing or talking to themselves and turning on the radio.

Research indicates that a third of drivers (31%) respond to feeling sleepy while driving by opening the window, 12.6% said they stretched their legs, 8% reported that they sing or talk to themselves or a passenger and 5% said they turned on the radio. None of these help in combating driver fatigue. In fact, these are the people who are most at risk of being involved in a driver fatigue related crash.

International research suggests that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland*. Therefore, this silent killer could have been a contributory factor in almost 215 road deaths in the past 5 years.

“Never drive if you are fighting sleep or you may never wake up,” said Noel Brett, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority.

Commenting on what you should do if feeling sleepy behind the wheel, Brett said: “To drivers we say; 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.”

“We are delighted that Applegreen has joined with us on this Driver Reviver campaign,” Brett added.

“The company is making a very practical and worthwhile contribution to road safety and I would urge drivers, particularly any who are feeling tired to avail of their offer of free coffee on Friday.

“As with every bank holiday weekend, there are added risks when using our roads. More people will be taking to the roads, travelling long distances, often without breaks. Scientific studies show that if a driver persists in fighting sleep while driving, the impairment level is the same as driving while over the drink drive limit.”

Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D., urged road users to be extra vigilant.

“Five people lost their lives over the June Bank Holiday weekend,” Varadkar said.

“We should all redouble our efforts to avoid a repeat this bank holiday. If you feel tired, then pull over and take a break. We are also asking drivers this weekend to watch out for changeable road conditions with the changing weather. Please enjoy the weekend, but do so safely.”

Commenting on the Garda Roads Policing Plan for the Bank Holiday Weekend, Assistant Commissioner Gerard Philips said: “Tragically five lives were lost over the recent June Bank Holiday weekend. To prevent further loss of life this bank holiday period members of the Garda Traffic Corps will be out in force targeting all aspects of road traffic enforcement with particular emphasis on speeding, drink and drug driving, non-wearing of seatbelts, mobile phones use and reckless driving.”

Commissioner Phillips added: “I would have a particular message for motorcycle riders who have featured too prominently in road collision casualty figures recently. Tragically 17 motorcyclists have already been killed this year compared to 16 in total for 2012.

“Our message is simple. Please be aware that you are considerably more vulnerable on a motorcycle, slow down and don’t take chances, such as reckless overtaking, undertaking or filtering. Drivers too, need to be aware of their blind spots and be constantly on the lookout for motorcycles at junctions and especially when turning right.”

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, where you can also download a copy of the RSA’s research on driver fatigue.

* Professor Jim Horne, Head of the Sleep Research Laboratory, Loughborough University, UK, advising the RSA has said driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in 1 in 5 crashes in Ireland.

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