GAA President and Council chiefs back All Ireland Semi Final road safety campaign

Posted in Connect on August 8, 2019.

In a week which has seen carnage and devastation on our roads, Road Safety officials have teamed up with the GAA and Croke Park asking road users to become team players on the road to croker, ahead of this Saturday’s All Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Mayo which is an evening game which can have its own challenges for fans making a return journey home.

As managers of the Dublin 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 and make changes to their own driving behaviour to ensure a safer journey for everyone.

President of the GAA, Mr John Horan, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Mr Peter Hynes and Dublin City Council Chief Executive, Owen P Keegan, are 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’s for all the fans to drive with care. The local authorities has warned drivers to ‘guard against complacency’ when it comes to fatigue as thousands of families plan the trip to croaker that could involve road journeys of several hundred miles.

The road safety officals are saying 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, which include taking a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours or 100 miles.

Alan Milton, Croke Park Communications Executive said, “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 or on our roads. We are proud to support this worthwhile campaign, and I hope that supporters travelling to Croke Park will help to make their communities safer places.

“Speeding traffic is a prime concern in many communities. We want motorists to think about their speed and how it might affect others as they pass through towns and villages along the way. Sometimes this might mean slowing down to a speed below that of the signed limit and as on the pitch all players have to be well rested before a big game, the same applies to driving we are asking all fans to take a break when driving a long journey.”

Helen Smirnova, Road Safety Officer, Dublin City Council 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, Mayo County Council added; “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.”

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, John Horan, said: “All-Ireland semi-finals weekend is 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 two great games of football but we also want to see everyone return home safely, win, lose or draw and I laud all involved in trying to communicate this message out to as many people as possible.”

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 show down should ask all their family members to adhere to the rules of the road always and lead by example in your own community.

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