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Third of deaths on our roads caused by drink

ONE in three deaths on Irish roads are alcohol related, a new study has found.

Ireland's record on drink driving does not compare well with our European counterparts, where one in four road deaths are linked to booze.

The extensive European study also found that Irish people have a false sense of security because they believe drink-driving laws to be more effective than they actually are.

Less than two thirds of people here believe that alcohol is a major threat to road safety, compared with an average of 80pc across the rest of the EU.

A third of drivers view alcohol as just a 'minor threat', with 5pc of Irish participants in the study convinced it was not a problem at all.

The report found Irish drivers were least concerned about wearing a seatbelt and least likely to think speaking on a mobile phone while driving was a problem.

Ireland has made great strides in recent years in terms of reducing road deaths, with a 42pc drop in deaths over the past nine years, the ninth highest reduction in the EU.

The sharp drop in road deaths has been attributed to introduction of mandatory breath testing which, it suggested, resulted in a 22pc drop in road deaths in the first year after its introduction in July 2006.

The EU report is the beginning of a new strategy to halve road deaths in Europe by 2020 from the 100 deaths a day at present.

It suggests that the EU is looking into the fitting of aircraft-style "black boxes" in cars and lorries.

The Government introduced sweeping changes to the drink driving limit here this year, reducing the general limit from 80mg to 50mg and the limit for novice and professional drivers to 20mg.