Motorway call-outs rise by 55% in 2010
As the country launches its first motorway service station this week, AA Rescue reveals it has responded to 142 callouts by members who have completely run out of fuel on our motorways since January. In total the AA has attended 2113 call outs on the Motorway network so far in 2010 a rise of 60% on the same period last year.
The figure of just under four callouts per week for empty fuel tanks comes to light as the National Roads Authority announces its plans to erect 130 signs to direct drivers off motorways to nearby towns and villages where they can refuel and use the facilities.
“Whilst the opening of the service area on the M1 at Lusk this week and the scheduled openings at Castleblaney on the M1 and Enfield on the M4 are welcome, that is still only 3 service areas in the whole country and none at all between Dublin and Cork or Waterford.” Says AA’s Director of Policy, Conor Faughnan. “The indefinite hold on service areas for the M6, M7, M8 and M9 is devaluing the network.”
Since 2008, AA Patrols have attended close to 400 callouts by AA members who have found themselves stranded on the hard shoulder with an empty tank. Call outs to those who have run out of fuel account for 7% of all motorway callouts received by AA Rescue each year. Overall there has been a 55% increase in the number of motorway callouts handled by AA Rescue Services in 2010, averaging 255 per month. This is compared to an average of 165 per month in 2009.
The increased rate of incidents is in line with the AA’s forecasts and reflects both the addition of 188 kilometres to our motorway network this year and the fact that the continuous inter-urban routes are nearing completion.
“The drivers we meet who have run out of fuel on the motorway usually feel pretty embarrassed, but as the numbers show, we see it all the time.” Says Noel Keogh, AA Patrol Manager. “Mostly it’s people who are unfamiliar with the route and don’t realise there’s no petrol stations along the way.”
One of the main concerns is that motorists are less inclined to take a rest without the convenience of service stops on the route itself. According to the most recent data available for the Road Safety Authority, 35% of all collisions are single vehicle only collisions with driver fatigue among the main casual factors.
“Drivers who are over-tired especially on monotonous motorways can be just as dangerous as those who have drunk too much alcohol. Concentration levels can wane and drivers begin to weave between lanes.” Says Faughnan. “The fact that thousands of Cork fans will make the journey to Dublin for the GAA football finals this weekend without the opportunity to stop at a service station between Dunkettle and Naas is a huge concern.”