Dáil Éireann - Volume 586 - 27 May, 2004

Written Answers - Road Safety.

  34. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport his views on recent figures showing that driver fatigue has been linked to 20% of all fatal crashes here; if he intends launching a public awareness campaign on the dangers of driving when very tired; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15882/04]

  Mr. Brennan: Commentary on the information available regarding causes of fatal road collisions is prepared by the National Roads Authority, NRA, based on reports from the Garda Síochána and is published by the authority in its annual road accident facts reports. The most recent report is in respect of 2002 and that report, along with reports relating to previous years, are available in the Oireachtas Library. Such commentary has not, to date, included specific details of a link between fatigue and fatal crashes in Ireland.

[1015] In accordance with the medical standards for driving set out in EU directives, which are transposed into national law in the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations Act 1999, the medical examination as to general physical and mental fitness takes account of the susceptibility of the person concerned to fatigue, such that such person’s ability to operate the controls of the vehicle might be seriously impaired. In addition, certification of fitness to drive may be specifically curtailed in certain instances such as where the person suffers from prescribed illnesses or disabilities or if using medications which would have an adverse effect on driving. In many of these instances, fatigue might be an attendant factor.

The question bank for the driver theory test includes questions regarding fatigue so that learner drivers are aware before they commence driving of the dangers of driving while fatigued.

The National Safety Council, which has been mandated with responsibility for promotional and educational initiatives relating to road safety, has produced a leaflet on driver fatigue. It has also organised a special promotion called “Driver Reviver” to address the problem of driver fatigue. This campaign was first launched at Easter weekend 2002 and, more recently, over the all-Ireland football final weekend in September 2003. On both occasions the campaigns were supported by Statoil, which provided service stations as “Driver Reviver” stops, and Lyons Tea. The council is currently in the process of developing and broadening the scale of the “Driver Reviver” campaign and anticipates implementing the campaign before the end of 2004.