A plan to close lay-bys across Ireland's motorway network has been branded 'nonsensical'.
Under a review of its policy on service areas, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is proposing to restrict access to existing lay-bys to emergency services and drivers of heavy goods vehicles by the end of the year.
Fianna Fáil Senator Niall Blaney told Lunchtime Live the plan makes no sense.
"I think it's absolutely ludicrous at a time when road deaths are on the rise," he said.
Senator Blaney said such a move would go "against the messaging of TII and RSA, which tells motorists all the time to pull in and take a nap and take a rest”.
"I think this proposal flies in the face of that at a time when road deaths are on the rise.
"This is the wrong approach and I think a bit of common sense it needed".
'Backed by the RSA'
Senator Blaney said TII seems to be based on a new EU law, which suggests there's only need for a rest area every 60 kilometres.
"Ireland doesn't have a fully-fledged motorway network," he said.
"Many parts don't have motorway but even at that, some motorists out in very rural areas will travel maybe for an hour or two before they reach a motorway.
"I think it's time for the Minister to have a relook at this.
"This proposal is being backed by the Road Safety Authority, the TII and An Garda Síochána and being led by the Minister for Transport.
"I think it's absolutely nonsensical".
Michael told the show he uses the lay-bys all the time.
"I do a lot of driving, I do upwards of 100,000km a year," he said.
"I'm constantly using the lay-bys... the other day I pulled in outside Gort just to clean my lights.
"I don't even know how you'd enforce it; are they going to have a Garda patrol car there?
"They have signs all over the network saying, 'Tiredness kills' - are they going to take down the signs?"
Independent Clare Councillor PJ Ryan said the idea is "absolutely crazy."
"I believe myself that we need a lot more truck stops or even service areas," he said.
"I know that you can drive from Rosslare to Sligo at the moment and the amount of places you can pull in is very, very limited.
"With so many people driving long distances now, it's essential that you have lay-bys where they can pull in and take a rest.
"I really, really think it's an absolutely daft idea."
'More accidents and deaths'
Another caller, Dave, told the show the network needs to grow not get smaller.
"Some of my friends drive the M1, and they were saying that last week people are actually stopping on the hard shoulder just to take breaks," he said.
"People are actually urinating along the motorway; why would you take away lay-bys?
"We need to encourage people to be able to stop safely.
"You have people taking journeys that don't even know where the lay-bys or the service areas are, and they're stopping along the motorway.
"Take away more services and you'll have likely more accidents and deaths, I would imagine," he added.
The new restrictions would not apply to Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) or lorries.
Other drivers would be directed to use nearby service areas, except in the case of emergency.
Listen back here: