28 July 2016

Driver fatigue kills

It is estimated that driver fatigue could play a role in up to one in five fatal road collisions in Ireland, writes Trish Whelan.

Prior to the August Bank Holiday weekend, Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) warned motorists that they should pull over and have a cup of coffee or a take a nap if they are feeling tired while driving. The RSA and Applegreen again teamed up to help drivers feeling tired over the Bank Holiday Weekend by providing them with free cups of coffee at Applegreen Service Stations around the country.

This is especially relevant as almost half of fatalities in 2016 happened on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (47pc in 2016, and 48pc in 2015).

Over a third (37pc) of fatalities this year so far have occurred on a Saturday and Sunday. This represents a 21pc increase on this time last year.

Figures provided by Maggie Martin, Research Manager with the RSA , also show almost one-third of deaths so far this year occurred between the hours of 4pm and 8pm and that 19 of these were between midnight and 6am, with a peak from 12pm-6pm on Sunday and from midnight to 6am on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Of these three people lost their lives in a 30km/h zone; 12pc in a 50km/h zone, while reductions were seen in speed limit areas of 60km/h and 80kmh. Some 26pc of fatalities happened in a 100km/h zone.

The highest number of fatalities of all road users happened in Cork (17) followed by Tipperary (9) and Limerick (9). Limerick had the highest number of driver of driver fatalities (7) while Cork had the highest number of passenger fatalities (5). Cork was also the highest for vulnerable road users which include pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclist) fatalities (5), followed by Dublin (4) and Tipperary (4).

Driver and passenger road deaths represent just over three in every five fatalities this year.

Overall, Ms Martin said the figures represent a net increase in vehicle occupant fatalities from 53 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.

Pictured are Maggie Martin; Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson RSA; Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, An Garda Síochána; and Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA.