LOCAL businesses and council recently banded together to implement an initiative to reduce the numbers of tired drivers and fatigue related crashes on NSW roads.
The 2019 'Free Cuppa for the Driver' scheme ran from March to May, allowing drivers who have travelled more than 100 kilometres from the address on their drivers licence to get a free cup of tea or coffee from participating businesses.
The scheme will be back next year for its 10th consecutive year tackling driver fatigue.
This year was the first time the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook shire councils joined 21 other local government areas in implementing this scheme.
Six local businesses were involved in 'Free Cuppa" including Double Picc, Café Munchies, The Old Teahouse, The Bar, The Cottage, and the Scone Visitor Information Centre.
Between them, these generous local businesses gave away over 100 cups of coffee to tired travellers driving through Muswellbrook and Scone.
Although the 'Free Cuppa' Scheme itself finished on May 31, random prize draws for various Free Cuppa competitions were held on June 19 at Wellington, NSW.
'Free Cuppa for the Driver' offers prizes valued at $600 to drivers who claimed a 'free cuppa' through the scheme and completed a driver entry form, as well as a prize valued at $300 to participating businesses who completed a survey on the scheme.
The Bar at Scone proved very lucky winning a $300 voucher in the scheme's participating business prize.
The Bar was also the venue where Patty Locket stopped in for a free cuppa and won a petrol voucher for participating in the 'Free Cuppa drivers' prize draw.
The Free Cuppa for the Driver team would like to thank all drivers who had a break at a participating business as well as the participating businesses themselves and everyone else who supported the scheme.
The success of this scheme in reducing fatigue related crashes on NSW roads depends heavily on everyone's support.
Upper Hunter Road Safety Officer, Alison Balding, explained that even though Free Cuppa for the Driver has finished, drivers should remain vigilant in applying strategies to prevent becoming tired whilst driving.
One strategy can be factoring in breaks when planning long distance trips which can be at driver rest areas, cafés or Driver Reviver sites.
An interactive map which shows rest areas in NSW can be found by searching for 'rest areas' on the Roads and Maritime Services website, www.rms.nsw.gov.au.
Other strategies to prevent driving tired include:
- Stop in a safe spot or rest area and have a 20 minute nap if early signs of fatigue are noticed, that is yawning, heavy eyes and/or poor concentration
- Share the driving on long distance trips
- Get a good night's sleep
- Avoid driving at night when your body will naturally want to sleep
- Avoid long drives after work
- Find out if any medicine you are taking may affect your driving
Local businesses interested in participating in Free Cuppa 2020 can sign up by contacting the Free Cuppa team through www.freecuppa.com.au.
For more information about the 'Free Cuppa for the Driver' Scheme, please contact Upper Hunter Shire Council's Road Safety Officer, Alison Balding by email firstname.lastname@example.org