NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Irish Roads Safer Thanks To Education

October 27, 2000

Anyone planning to drive in Europe should note that Ireland isn't the risky place it used to be. The Environment Department's safety education strategy, introduced in 1998, has helped reduce fatalities.

  • Last year 413 people died in car crashes on Ireland's frequently narrow, dangerous roads.
  • However, that's a far cry from the more than 700 a year in the 1970s.
  • On average, there were 33.89 fatalities per month this year, down from 34.42 in 1999 and 38.17 in 1998.
  • The police still arrest 200 people a week for drunk driving in a country the size of New York State.

Alcohol, although involved in one-third of the accidents, is the second most common cause after excessive speed. Some help has come from the European Union, which gave Ireland construction funds to improve roads. The government has also committed $4.8 billion to build a network of highways to connect major cities. Ireland now has fewer deaths per capita than the United States, and less than half the figure in Portugal, which now has the most dangerous roads in Europe.

Source: Brian Lavery, "Safety Messages Getting Through to Irish Drivers," New York Times, October 27, 2000.


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