Something pretty amazing has been happening on Irish roads for the past several years - a marked decrease in the number of road fatalities. Ireland has made the most progress of all European Union countries in the effort to reach zero road fatalities by 2050. Since 2010, Ireland has seen a decrease of 31%, cutting road fatalities by almost a third.
Elsewhere in the EU, many countries have been struggling to reduce fatalities, with some countries seeing the number stagnate. In discussing Ireland's progress, an article in Forbes points out that the decrease is especially impressive when you consider that road fatalities have gone down at the same time as the population of Ireland has continued to increase. With such a large decrease in fatalities, it's clear that Ireland is doing something right. Taking a closer look at how they've enacted this change can provide valuable insight into how to bring about change.
"The country lowered the threshold for illegal drunk driving in 2017 and introduced preliminary roadside testing. They also rolled out advertising campaigns specifically targeting vulnerable road users. Most controversially, they introduced "morning-after" roadside tests to find levels of intoxication unsafe to drive even after a person has tried to sleep it off."
That a central focus of Ireland's new approach to reducing road fatalities concerned driving while intoxicated is important. It provides a good demonstration of how dangerous driving under the influence can be, even when occurring hours after an initial bout of drinking. While popular representations of Ireland suggest a country where intoxication is more prevalent, the statistics on drunk driving worldwide suggest that driving is a problem for almost every country, full stop. The progress that Ireland has made in decreasing road fatalities is not only wonderful, it's also instructive. A focus on curbing drunk driving can pay off big time.
For more on Ireland's progress and how they brought it out, check out the article in Forbes.