Hundreds of Mayo fans travelling to Croke Park for a major football showdown this weekend are to be given air fresheners containing a road safety message.
The air fresheners – in the famous green and red of Mayo – will be distributed at a well-known stopping-off point for Mayo fans heading for Croker on Sunday and will bear a message: “Drive To Arrive Alive.”
“Thousands of Mayo people will be travelling to see our county team play Dublin, and we want to impress upon them the need to drive safely at all times. That is why we have produced these air fresheners with this message on it,” said Noel Gibbons, road safety officer of Mayo County Council.
New research released by the Road Safety Authority shows that over one in 10 drivers (14 per cent ) have admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving. The new findings re-enforces international research which suggests that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in one in five driver deaths in Ireland. Therefore, this silent killer may have claimed more than 350 road deaths in the past five years.
Commenting on the research Mr Gibbons said: “Falling asleep at the wheel is something which could happen to any driver, of any age, on any journey so we want this campaign to ensure that more motorists are made aware of the tragic road collisions that fatigue can cause and are asking them to be well rested before taking to the road.
“We want to encourage people to get into the habit of pulling over if they are starting to get tired while driving. A short stop, a stretch of the legs, and a cup of tea or coffee, can revive a driver and could be the difference between life and death,” said Mr Gibbons.
The air fresheners will be distributed at Feerick’s Halfway House, Rathowen, Co Westmeath, which is a popular place for Mayo people to stop for breakfast on their way to Croke Park. There will also be road safety information displayed at the restaurant.
Mayo manager James Horan is fully behind this campaign: “Road safety is a prime concern in all communities. We want motorists to think about their speed and how it might affect others as they pass through our communities. Sometimes this might mean slowing down to a speed below that of the signed limit. We hope everyone takes note,” he said.
The Dublin manager is also supporting the road safety message: “On the football pitch, speed is a necessity - but excessive and inappropriate speed on the road is not 'fair play'. Apart from the obvious risk of causing injury and death, it also creates distress among other road users leading to people feeling unsafe as they walk or cycle on our roads. I am proud to support this worthwhile campaign, and I hope that local people will help to make their communities safer places.”
The air fresheners will be distributed free of charge on a first come, first served, basis. Mr Gibbons also encouraged Mayo people travelling at the weekend to “ensure you have a designated driver with you to avoid driving with drink on you”.