Ireland's MEP on the European Parliament Transport Committee, Jim Higgins has welcomed Garda figures which show that the number of road deaths fell from 186 in 2011 to 161 over the last year (2012 ).
The Fine Gael MEP said 2011 was already a record year in the race to drive down the carnage on the roads.
“The RSA, the gardai and the Government deserve great praise for the work they have done in the last decade to cut the bloody slaughter on our roads. I also especially want to thank the public who seem to have road safety to the fore when they use the roads - be it as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver.”
"It is a combination of penalty points, Garda enforcement, the NCT, public vigilance, better driving tests, approved driving instructors, better signage and improved infrastructure that have combined to ensure the number of deaths and injuries on our road is now about a third of what is was a decade ago. “It is difficult to believe that by the end of the 1990s Ireland was recording in excess of 450 deaths a year, not to mention the 13,000 people who were seriously injured annually. Today we have become one of the safest EU countries in which to drive and there is no reason why, if the will is there, we cannot become the safest," added MEP Higgins.
He also said that the new drivers licence due to be introduced across the European Union from January 19 would be another tool in the road safety battle.
"This new credit card style licence will make it easier for the gardai to detect fraud. The online application process from September this year will also make applying for a drivers licence much easier than up to now."