Ireland moves up road-safety league
Published 08/02/2010 | 05:00
IRELAND now ranks 10th in the table of safest roads worldwide.
The sharp drop in the number of deaths from car accidents in recent years has resulted in Ireland having a better ranking for safety than countries such as the US, Australia and Canada.
However, a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows the number of young people dying is three times that of the normal population.
The study from the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group compares the number of deaths on the roads per 100,000 population.
Iceland comes out top, with 3.81 for every 100,000, followed by the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden.
Ireland is ranked at 10 with 6.34 deaths, higher than Spain, France, Canada, Denmark and Austria.
A total of 27 countries participated in the report from the OECD. Ireland emerged as the fifth most improved county when figures on fatalities in 2007 and 2008 were compared.
The number of deaths on the country's roads has been dropping consistently for the last five years.
Last year, there were 239 fatalities, compared with 411 in 2001.
The report was welcomed by the Road Safety Authority, which thanked the public for helping to improve the culture of safety on the nation's roads.
However, a detailed analysis of the figures shows there is still a risk for young drivers and passengers on the roads.
"Young people, especially 18- to 20-year-olds, are still a high risk group in road safety, with a fatality risk three times higher than that of the general population," it said.
In addition, motorcyclists have a much greater risk of dying in a crash compared to car occupants. The worst country in the report was Malaysia which had 23.5 fatalities for every 100,000 of its population -- almost four times that of Ireland.
In the last 40 years, the number of fatalities on Irish roads has halved, while the number of cars has quadrupled.
In 1972, there were 640 fatalities on the country's roads.
There have also been improvements over the last decade, according to the report.
The risk of being involved in a fatal collision almost halved since 2000.
The majority of accidents occur on rural roads, while just 1pc happen on motorways due to low collision rates.