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Environment : Road Safety Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Hoax Classified Add Hoodwinked Thousands
By Noel Gibbons
29, May 2014 - 09:53

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Young drivers responding to a classified advertisement on a website for a bargain car heard how the supposed "owner'' crashed and killed a child, as part of road safety awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of careless driving. Mayo County Council ran the campaign supported by DoneDeal over one week, putting notices for a bargain Subaru WRX Impreza on the DoneDeal web site.

The campaign was ran to raise awareness before the June bank holiday weekend when thousands will take to the road, figures released by the RSA recently highlighted Five people lost their lives and five were seriously injured over the June Bank Holiday in 2013. Six lost their lives and 11 were seriously injured in 2012.

With thousands (5292) of excited buyers viewing the advert and hundreds rang the contact number supplied and were greeted by the "seller" John - in reality an actor with a shocking message, with some callers leaving messages, even after hearing it was a road safety campaign. The original advert was replaced by a message asking all to use the road safely on the final day of the campaign.

"John here. Sorry I can't answer the call. If your calling about the car, yes I still have if for sale. I have it about six months. It's quick, so quick I didn't even see her. By the time I did, it was too late. She was only six years old for God's sake. Make me an offer and take it away. I can't stand looking at it anymore...just don't drive it like I did ...brought to you by Mayo County Council as part of a road safety campaign."


Sample voice mail messages left on phone
Noel Gibbons Road Safety Officer Mayo County Council said "If it makes one person think twice about speeding, if it makes one person think twice about doing doughnuts or one person driving while using a handheld mobile phone and saves a life, then it's a good thing. We hope the underlying message got through to these listeners, many of whom would talk to their friends about this advert. A certain kind of person buys a car like John. If it at least gets them thinking about what the effect of their driving could be, not only on their own lives but also others in the community, we've made a difference."

Commenting on the campaign, Agnes Swaby, marketing manager at DoneDeal said: "We are delighted to be able to support this important awareness campaign led by Mayo County Council. By using the DoneDeal site as a channel to directly communicate to thousands of young drivers, Mayo County Council has taken a very innovative and engaging approach to driving its road safety message home in advance of the bank holiday weekend."

Young drivers still remain a major concern for road safety professionals, research revealed by the RSA highlighted1,352 17-24 year olds were killed on Irish roads between 1997 and 2009, representing 28% of all road deaths in that period. Over one third (35%) of these fatalities took place between 12:00am (midnight) and 4:59am. The research also found that 17 to 24 year old car drivers are five times more likely to be killed on Irish roads than any other driver. In fatal collisions where excessive speed was cited as a contributory factor, half of all drivers responsible were males aged 17 to 24 years old. Furthermore, 2 in 5 of all passengers aged 17 to 24 who were killed on the road were in a car being driven by a 17 to 24 year old male driver.

Based on these shocking figures the innovative road safety campaign was organised to reach young drivers.


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