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“Don’t Drive Till You Drop”

18 March 2008

“Don’t Drive Till You Drop” Message Targeted At Cook Strait Ferry Passengers

Early morning passengers waiting in Wellington to board Cook Strait ferries are being specially targeted with driver fatigue messages this week, in the lead-up to Easter.

From Monday to Thursday ACC staff will be distributing tips and tools on how to beat fatigue to people taking their cars across the strait on the 0825 sailing of the Interislander. On Thursday, with the support of the Police, the information drive will be extended to the 0800 Strait Shipping’s Bluebridge ferry.

“We’re targeting these early sailings because once these people arrive in Picton, many of them still have half a day’s travel in front of them,” said Yvonne Wood, a Wellington-based ACC Injury Prevention Consultant.

“Those long hours behind the wheel, on top of an early start and a three-hour ferry journey, puts them in danger of developing fatigue. They may also have had to drive for an hour or more to even arrive at the Wellington ferry terminal.

“It’s vital that all drivers understand the seriousness of driver fatigue and how to prevent it, so we’re handing out information about the need to take regular breaks, to drink lots of water and keep hydrated, and to avoid fatty and sugary foods. Everyone we have spoken to has been very receptive to the fatigue messages.”

But Ms Wood said the biggest piece of advice is to stop and rest if a driver is feeling tired, or of course, swap drivers. “A power nap of even only twenty minutes can boost energy levels as well as improve motor skills, memory and alertness. Best of all, those twenty minutes could prevent a devastating road crash.”

In 2006 at least 40 people lost their lives while almost 1000 people were injured because they, or the driver of the car they were in, succumbed to fatigue.

“Many drivers – especially when they’re heading off on holiday – have a ‘drive till you drop’ mentality. Actually, they need to stop a long time before they drop if they want to protect themselves, their families and other road users,” Yvonne Wood said.

ACC is teaming with Police and local authorities to run Driver Fatigue Stops around the country this Easter, and is also supporting State Insurance’s Driver Reviver stops.

ENDS

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