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All Ireland Final Road Safety Campaign - 'Be A Team Player On The Road To Croker'

Date: 08-09-2021

In a month that has seen carnage and devastation on our roads, Road Safety officials have teamed up with the GAA, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, An Garda Síochána and Road Safe Northern Ireland asking road users to become team players on the road to Croker, ahead of this Saturday’s All Ireland final between Tyrone and Mayo which is an evening game and can have its own challenges for fans making a return journey home.

As the Managers of the Tyrone and Mayo teams announce their plans and changes for Saturday’s game, supporters travelling to the game at Croke Park are also being asked to plan ahead to ensure a safer journey for everyone.

Road Safety officials have teamed up with the GAA, PSNI, An Garda Síochána, Road safety NI with Croke Park backing the joint campaign, which is being led by Road Safety Officers in both County Councils.

The ‘Be a team player on the road to Croker’ campaign asks motorists and passengers to make a personal commitment to drive at appropriate and legal speeds in a bid to tackle concerns about speeding in local communities and a special appeal will be made at the big match on Saturday for all the fans to drive with care. The local authorities have warned drivers to ‘guard against complacency’ when it comes to fatigue as thousands of families plan the trip to Croker that could involve road journeys of several hundred miles. The road safety officials say tiredness increases the risk of a collision as drivers become less aware of what’s happening around them, and a fatigued drivers’ ability to react is impaired if a risky situation develops.

They point to statistics which show that fatigue can be a factor in up to 20% of all road collisions, and up to 25% of fatal and serious crashes.

They are advising drivers to ensure they are properly rested before setting off on a long journey and offering tips to reduce the risk of a fatigue-related collision.

The tips include taking a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles.

Mayo Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon said, “Saturday’s All-Ireland football final appearance for Mayo will be a very special occasion for all in the county and there will be great excitement in the lead up to the game.  An Garda Síochána wants this year’s final be a great occasion for everyone but we are urging those using the roads this weekend to take special care.

There have been three fatal road traffic collisions and 11 serious injury traffic collisions in the Mayo Garda Division up to September 8, this year.  Each of these collisions have caused heartache and loss in our community.  An Garda Síochána is reminding those using our roads this weekend to act responsibly.  Any road death is one too many and An Garda Síochána will continue to work together with our partners in road safety to reduce road deaths.

We know emotions will be running high in the run up to All Ireland final day and in particular on the day, but we remind every road user that there is no place on our roads for people who do not comply with legislation.  We are urging those travelling this Saturday to not just think about their own safety, but the safety of their families and loved ones, and the safety of all roads users.

Comply with the speed limits.  Never ever drink and drive or drive after consuming drugs.  We are appealing to all road users to be extra vigilant this weekend and help make our roads safer.

In addition to this, we must remember as we continue to live with Covid- 19 that we protect ourselves and those around us from serious illness.  Much has been done to reduce the rate of infection in our communities and so I am also appealing to football supporters to behave in a responsible manner this weekend.  Continue to listen to the public health advice, observe all Covid- 19 guidelines, and let’s make this a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved”.

Constable Trevor Kirke, PSNI Road Education Officer said “This is another opportunity to remind GAA fans about their road safety responsibilities.  Fans should ensure the enjoyment of the game isn't followed by tragedy on the road”.

Noel Gibbons,  Road Safety Officer in the Communications Department of Mayo County Council said “A fatigue-related crash is around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision. No one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction. You will experience difficulty focusing on the driving task, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently.  When more serious levels of fatigue set in, you may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you’ll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes. At this stage, your driving performance is seriously impaired, and it’s vital that you stop somewhere safe as soon as possible.  A power nap and/or a caffeine-based drink can provide a short-term fix, but they should never be used as an acceptable substitute for proper rest.  If you’re that tired, you must stop and rest properly.”

Liam Moffatt, Chairman, Mayo GAA "All-Ireland football final weekends are amongst the most memorable in our calendar and we all look forward to them immensely.  However, with so many people in transit - making both long and short journeys - it's important that we drive with care and exercise caution.  We all want to see a game of football, but we also want to see everyone return home safely, win, lose or draw and I encourage all supporters to communicate this message out to as many people as possible.  Mhaigh Eo Abú".

Road users are being made aware of the ‘fatal five’ on our roads; Speeding, alcohol, drugs, non-seatbelt wearing and mobile phone use.  Individuals and organisations wishing to follow their football team's example and make a commitment to Slow Down for the Showdown should ask all their family members to adhere to the rules of the road always and lead by example in your own community.

Davy Jackson, Chair of Road Safe NI said “Driving while tired is a real killer.  Micro sleeps will happen before you know it.  During these micro sleeps you can drift off to sleep for a fraction of a second right up to many seconds.  It is worth noting that if your eyes close for only 4.6 seconds while driving at 60mph you will travel the distance of a football field.  Once you start to feel tired you will not be able to power through it.  Take the following steps:  1. Make sure you are fit to drive and do not begin a journey if you feel tired.  2. Where possible avoid taking long journeys between midnight and 6am when natural alertness is at a minimum.  3. Plan your journey to take sufficient breaks.  A minimum of at least 15 minutes after every 2 hours of driving is recommended.  4. If you feel sleepy stop in a safe place and rest until you are fit to continue.  DO NOT STOP ON THE HARD SHOULDER OF A MOTORWAY. Make this a weekend to remember for all the right reasons”.

Pictured at MacHale Park, Castlebar: L-R: Garda Collete Faragher, Inspector Paudie O'Shea, Garda P.J O'Donnell, Dermot Butler (Secretary, Mayo GAA County Board), Noel Gibbons (Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council), Sergeant Declan Casey, Con Moynihan (Vice-Chairperson, Mayo GAA County Board), Garda Francis Carter, Liam Moffatt (Chairperson, Mayo GAA County Board), Garda Brian Cosgrove

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