Fake car ad used to drive home road safety message

Thousands of car buyers who responded to an advertisement for a cut-price car got more than they bargained for when the voicemail on the number they were asked to ring turned out to be a road safety message.

Callers were stunned to hear the supposed seller of the car asking prospective buyers to make him an offer and take the car away from him as he had killed a six-year-old girl with it and could not stand looking at it anymore.

The message, recorded by an actor, ended with the information that it was part of a road safety campaign by Mayo County Council.

The council ran the campaign in conjunction with online small ads website DoneDeal.ie. The message was heard by 5,292 individual callers in just one week.

The council’s road safety officer, Noel Gibbons, said the advert was targeted at young drivers who would have been attracted by the Subaru model that was on offer for just €3,000.

“If it makes one person think twice about speeding, if it makes one person think twice about doing doughnuts or about driving while using a handheld mobile phone and saves a life, then it’s a good thing,” said Mr Gibbons.

Agnes Swaby, DoneDeal marketing manager, said: “Mayo County Council has taken a very innovative and engaging approach to driving its road safety message home.”

The campaign was run to raise awareness in the lead up to the bank holiday weekend which is one of the most dangerous periods on the road.

Moyagh Murdock, Road Safety Authority CEO, appealed to motorists to take extra care.

The 74 lives lost to date this year exceed the 73 fatalities in the same period last year, which was the worst year on the roads for seven years.

The campaign is backed by the gardaí and the Department of Transport who have called today National Slow Down Day. Motorists are also being urged to take breaks to counter driver fatigue. Applegreen service stations will be offering free coffee between 2pm and 8pm to motorists who mention the campaign at the till.

Crash probe

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is investigating a collision in which a woman died after it emerged gardaí had been following the car.

Sinead Maguire, of Bayview Avenue in Dublin’s north inner city, died after the car in which she was a passenger hit a pole in the nearby Fairview area early yesterday morning.

The 43-year-old was rushed to the Mater Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later. The driver, a 26-year-old, was taken to Beaumont hospital where his condition was described as critical, while a 20-year-old man was described as comfortable at St James Hospital.

It was the second fatal accident in less than a hour in Dublin as a 21-year-old died in a single-vehicle crash on the N81 shortly before 3am.

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