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STEER CLEAR One quarter of Irish motorists have fallen asleep behind the wheel, survey shows


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One in four Irish motorists struggle to stay awake behind the wheel, a shocking new survey has found.

The research, carried out by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), reveals that 24 pc of motorists surveyed found that there were times on the road when “they had trouble keeping their eyes open."

A worrying 16 pc of drivers admitted to nodding off while actually driving their car on a public road.

The study also found that the groups most at risk from driver fatigue are young men, people working night shifts, those who drive for a living such as truck and taxi drivers, and people with sleep disorders.

Meanwhile, a quarter of drivers in Ireland (23.9pc) said they had driven at least once, over the previous month, when they were so tired that they had trouble keeping their eyes open.

Incredibly these figures are higher than recorded for the European average which is 20pc of drivers.

The results came from a major international study conducted in 2018, called the E-Survey of Road Users.

This is not the first time that driver fatigue has been recorded as an issue for road users in Ireland.

A similar national study of Driver Attitudes and Behaviour, conducted in Ireland by the RSA last year, discovered that 16pc out of 1,000 motorists admitted to falling asleep while driving.

Speaking at the launch of Irish Road Safety Week, Minister of State for Roads Hildegarde Naughton said the findings are a cause for concern.

“The findings of the ESRA study showed a very worrying prevalence of driver fatigue in Ireland, even more worrying when you compare it to the European average.

“We know that driving while fatigued significantly increases your risk of being involved in a road traffic collision.

“Just as you wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, don’t drive if you are fatigued.

“Health experts have been proclaiming the importance of sleep for many years but in the case of road safety, a good night’s sleep might just save your life.”

Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, added: “Fatigue is estimated to be a contributory factor in a staggering one in five driver fatalities on Irish roads.

“That’s a statistic that is sure to jolt you awake and demonstrates why driver fatigue is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’.

“The advice for drivers suffering from fatigue and who find themselves fighting sleep at the wheel is simple. Stop, Sip, Sleep.

“You just can’t fight fatigue. The only cure for driver fatigue is sleep.”

Online Editors