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Trio launch road safety partnership

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) have announced a three-year collaboration to promote road safety awareness.

Initially focusing on reducing the incidences of two killer behaviours on Irish roads – using a mobile phone while driving and driver fatigue, together the three organisations hope to help drive behavioural change amongst a younger cohort of road users.

The first phase of the campaign which was launched today, August 9, in Croke Park, will encourage younger road users to put their mobile phones away while driving and focus all their attention on the road. RSA research shows that using a mobile phone behind the wheel makes you four times more likely to crash. The offence of holding a mobile phone while driving is the second highest reason for a driver to receive penalty points, after speeding.

The organisations are urging drivers, ahead of the GAA All Ireland semi-finals this weekend, to put their mobile phones away while driving and concentrate their attention on the task at hand.

Speaking at the launch in Croke Park, Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA said: “Driver distraction plays a role in 20-30 per cent of all road collisions in Ireland, and the biggest distraction for drivers is mobile phone use. Today mobile phones demand more and more of our attention and through our collaboration with the GPA and WGPA we want to stress the importance of putting your phone away while driving.”

Paul Flynn of the GPA said playing a small role in promoting safe driving to potentially save lives will be a great success.

WGPA Chairperson Maria Kinsella added they are committed to promoting road safety awareness through this collaboration.

The second phase of the campaign will take place later this year focusing on creating awareness of the dangers of driver fatigue. An ESRI research report from last year illustrated the time commitments required to play senior inter-county GAA and the impact this has on players’ lives, including their sleep.

All motorists suffering from a sleep debt are at risk of ‘nodding off’ whilst driving and substantially increasing their risk of being involved in a crash. It is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as one in five driver deaths in Ireland every year.

Furthermore, tiredness-related collisions are three times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action.