Ireland was the third best performer for road safety in 2018, with 31 deaths per million inhabitants, according to figures released by the EU.
Ireland also improved by 30% between 2010 and 2018, according to the data.
Across Europe fewer people died on roads last year but more efforts are needed, according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune.
The preliminary figures on road fatalities for 2018 was published by the European Commission and showed that in 2018, there were around 25,100 fatalities in road accidents in the EU. This is a decrease of 21% compared to 2010 and 1% compared to 2017. With an average of 49 road deaths per one million inhabitants, this confirms that European roads are by far the safest in the world.
“There is a target across the EU of halving the number of road deaths by 2020," MEP Clune says.
"We must continue to do all we can in Europe and Ireland to reduce these numbers. Even one road death is unacceptable. Ireland has one of the best road safety records in Europe but we still have a lot of work to do.
“In recent years we have seen significant improvements in road safety, but there are still 500 deaths on European roads each and every week. That is over 25,000 fatalities a year and is simply not an acceptable figure. There is progress being made. In Ireland, there were 400 deaths on our roads in 2001 compared to 149 last year. That is 149 too many however and we must keep doing what we can to make sure that number comes down.
“We can and we must continue to go much further on improving road safety, and I am optimistic about the potential for new lifesaving technologies to help us do that.”
The EU countries with the best road safety results in 2018 were the United Kingdom (28 deaths/million inhabitants), Denmark (30/million), Ireland (31/million) and Sweden (32/million). The countries with a higher-than-average decrease in road deaths from 2017 to 2018 were Slovenia (-13%), Lithuania (-11%), Bulgaria (-9%), and Slovakia and Cyprus (both -8%).
Only two EU member states recorded a fatality rate higher than 80 deaths per million inhabitants, against seven in 2010. The countries with the highest fatality rate were Romania (96/million), Bulgaria (88/million), Latvia (78/million) and Croatia (77/million).