As the country launches its first motorway service station this week, AA Rescue reveals it has responded to 142 callouts by members who have completely run out of fuel on the country’s motorways since January. In total the AA has attended 2,113 callouts on the motorway network so far in 2010, a rise of 60 per cent on the same period last year.
The figure of just under four callouts per week for empty fuel tanks comes to light as the National Roads Authority announces its plans to erect 130 signs to direct drivers off motorways to nearby towns and villages where they can refuel and use the facilities.
“While the opening of the service area on the M1 at Lusk this week and the scheduled openings at Castleblaney on the M1 and Enfield on the M4 are welcome, that is still only three service areas in the whole country and none at all between Dublin and Cork or Waterford,” said the AA’s director of policy, Conor Faughnan. “The indefinite hold on service areas for the M6, M7, M8, and M9 is devaluing the network.”
Since 2008, AA patrols have attended close to 400 callouts by AA members who have found themselves stranded on the hard shoulder with an empty tank. Callouts to those who have run out of fuel account for seven per cent of all motorway callouts received by AA Rescue each year. Overall there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of motorway callouts handled by AA Rescue Services in 2010, averaging 255 per month. This is compared to an average of 165 per month in 2009.
“The drivers we meet who have run out of fuel on the motorway usually feel pretty embarrassed, but as the numbers show, we see it all the time,” said Noel Keogh, AA patrol manager. “Mostly it’s people who are unfamiliar with the route and don’t realise there’s no petrol stations along the way.”