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EU reports lowest number of road deaths in 2012 since records began

The number of road deaths in the 27-member bloc fell by 9 per cent last year, and is two-thirds lower than in 1965.

Image: olivier via Shutterstock

THE NUMBER of people killed on roads in the European Union last year was the lowest since records began.

Figures published by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat said the number of road fatalities in 2012 was down by 9 per cent compared to the figure for 2011, which in turn was down by 2 per cent compared to 2010.

55 people per million inhabitants died in traffic accidents across the EU last year, or roughly 27,700 people across the 27 member states.

The drop in Ireland’s fatality rate between 2010 and 2012 – where fatalities have dropped from 47 to 36 per million inhabitants – is the fourth-highest in the entire EU.

That fall, of 23.4 per cent, is bettered only by Spain (24.1 per cent), Malta (27.8 per cent) and Denmark (30.4 per cent).

When adjusted to reflect varying road traffic fatalities since the turn of the century, Ireland has seen the third-highest fall – at 10 per cent – behind only Denmark (15 per cent) and Spain (14 per cent).

11 of the 27 current EU member states have seen fatalities increase since the year 2000.

Malta had the highest individual fall in 2012, of 48 per cent, though this is largely as a result of an unusually high number of road deaths in 2011 which adjust the figures. Malta’s fatality rate, of 26 road deaths per million inhabitants, was the lowest in the EU last year.

Lithuania has the highest road fatality rate, with 100 deaths per million inhabitants in 2012 – meaning one in every 10,000 people in the country, on average, died in a road traffic accident last year.

Ireland’s fatality rate for 2012, at 36 deaths per million inhabitants, was the sixth-lowest in the bloc.

161 people died on the roads in Ireland last year – the fifth time in a row that the number of fatalities had fallen to a record low.

The EU today launched plans to encourage an EU-wide reduction in the number of road deaths between 2015 and 2020.

Read: 2012 sets new record for fewest road deaths in Ireland

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Gavan Reilly

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