Northland Regional Council Transport Projects Officer Ian Crayton-Brown – who coordinates the project – says fatigue is a problem for drivers on Northland roads for both locals and visitors alike.
“It’s believed up to 14 percent of road crashes across the region are fatigue related,” he says.
“Research tells us that fatigue-related crashes tend to be worse because the tired driver won’t have time to brake and it will usually be a head on crash or hitting some other object at full speed.”
Ian says taking regular breaks, sharing the driving and ensuring that drivers are well rested before longs trips is very important.
The concept of taking regular driver breaks spawned the idea for the Coffee Brake project – originally in Australia – and Ian says the collaboration with cafés was a natural progression.
“Research tells us that coffee actually has lots of excellent health benefits but should be taken in moderation. It is recognised as a safe stimulant that can be taken before driving and during breaks while on long trips to help keep drivers fresh,” he says.
“The Coffee Brake project continues to receive tremendous and generous support from sponsors and participating cafés and it’s because of this excellent support that the project is being extended to 30th June 2015 as part of an annual review process.”
Nine café’s have been identified throughout Northland as being keen to participate. “Importantly, the cafés selected are positioned on or near high risk State Highway roads where driving while fatigued can have catastrophic consequences,” says Ian.
The project involves the redemption of ‘Coffee Brake Vouchers’ by ‘drivers only’ to encourage and reward them to stop, sit down and have a free coffee. Vouchers are available from i-Sites, regional council customer service counters and AA offices throughout the region.
To make this project possible we’ve received very generous support from – Northland Hospitality – (Max) is a key hospitality sector partner and helped identify coffee and milk sponsors for the Coffee Brake project. These key coffee suppliers include – Altura, Allpress, Atomic, Jungle, Bica, Bruno Rossi, Chiasso, Tiger Mountain and Coffee Supreme.
Please ‘Drive Safely’ on our roads and remember to take a Coffee Brake.