ONE in three deaths on Irish roads are alcohol related compared to an average of one in four throughout the European Union.
A major EU report on road safety, published yesterday, also suggests that Irish drivers believe drink-driving laws are much more effective than they actually are.
Just under two thirds of Irish drivers questioned said that they believed alcohol was a major threat to road safety, as compared to 80% in the rest of the EU.
About a third of drivers believe alcohol was a minor problem with 5% suggesting it was no 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 cut road deaths by 42% over the past nine years, the ninth-highest reduction in the EU.
This has been largely attributed to the introduction of mandatory breath testing which, it suggested, resulted in a 22% 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.
Other changes include putting alcolocks in vehicles, much safer road surfaces and greater penalties for drink driving and speeding. Compulsory seat belt warnings, automatic braking systems for buses and lorries, and higher technical safety standards for all vehicles, were also set out in the proposals.
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