'Record low' road traffic deaths in Wales

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Queuing motorway traffic
Image caption,
Politicians and road safety campaigners say the road safety message is paying off

The number of deaths on roads in Wales is the lowest since records began 42 years ago, according to latest figures.

Fatalities fell by 29% last year, below three figures for the first time, with 89 deaths.

Transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said it showed the safe driving message and tougher enforcement was "paying off".

Steve Baker, head of accident prevention charity RoSPA Wales, said Wales was one of the safest countries in the world in which to travel.

The Police Reported Road Traffic Fatalities, 2010 report, published on Thursday by the Welsh Assembly Government, shows that traffic fatalities in Wales fell from 125 in 2009.

Numbers of deaths peaked in 1973 with a total of 424 people killed.

It had declined to 161 by 2007 and fell steadily after that to its current level in 2010.

The figures released are preliminary with the final numbers to be provided in June.

Mr Jones said the figures were encouraging but said more could be done.

"This government is committed to making Wales' roads safer for all who use them and these figures make very welcome reading.

Young drivers

"This is the lowest figure that has ever been recorded in Wales and demonstrates that the promotion of safe driving through effective education, safety improvements on our roads and tougher enforcement is paying off.

"Whilst today's release is very encouraging, we cannot and will not be complacent. As the police, A&E staff, road safety experts and the families of those who have tragically died in road collisions will tell you, we all need to do more, the minister said.

"Road safety messages, particularly among young drivers, still need to be heard."

Steve Baker, head of accident prevent charity RoSPA Wales said: "The fact that road fatalities in Wales have decreased so significantly over recent years is a testament to the many focussed road safety interventions that have been implemented."

He said the Welsh Assembly Government has been particularly proactive and supportive to local councils in helping to build a strong road safety culture.

"Recent statistics suggest that Wales is on course to further improve its position as one of the safest countries in the world in which to travel."

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