Irish road users 'tenth safest'
Irish road users have been ranked the tenth safest in an international study.
Road deaths dropped by almost a third in recent years, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
However serious concerns were raised that young people, especially 18 to 20-year-olds, are still three times more likely to be victims of a traffic collision.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) thanked road users for improving the culture of safety on the road.
"Ireland was the fifth most improved country out of 27 participating OECD countries worldwide in 2008 when compared to 2007," said a spokesman. "As a result, Ireland is now ranked the tenth safest country out of these 27 countries worldwide, with 6.3 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008."
The report revealed that despite the number of vehicles on the road quadrupling between 1970 and 2008, fatalities almost halved.
It stated road deaths dropped by 30% between 2005 and 2008, with more than half of the reduction within the final year.
While 17 people have died in collisions so far this year, the RSA said provisional figures for 2009 show a further 14% decrease.
The OECD also found that for a motorcyclist, the risk of dying in a traffic crash per kilometres travelled is about 23 times higher than that for a car occupant.
The country with the best road safety was Iceland - with 3.81 deaths per 100,000 population - compared with Greece which was the worst with 14.43 deaths per 100,000 population, it stated.