The latest figures in Northern Ireland show that the current road safety target reductions, for the ten years up to 2012, had already been achieved by 2008 and so are likely to be maintained or exceeded in 2012. Despite this success, the proportion of Northern Ireland’s population killed or seriously injured as a result of road traffic collisions remains higher than for Great Britain and other high-performing European countries.
The project described in this report benchmarked Northern Ireland’s road safety performance against appropriate comparator data. An examination of the similarities and differences in road safety exposure factors in Northern Ireland and Great Britain concluded that no single country or region of Great Britain was appropriate as a comparator for Northern Ireland.
Therefore, it was necessary to use statistical modelling to ‘build’ a hypothetical comparator. The comparator was created using data from Great Britain, adjusting for variables such as traffic flow and road type. It showed that safety on motorways and urban roads is substantially better in Northern Ireland than on the same road types in Great Britain once traffic flow and road length have been taken into account. However, even allowing for the exposure factors, safety on rural roads is worse in Northern Ireland. Nonetheless, the net effect across all road types is that there were fewer road casualties in Northern Ireland in 2008 than there would have been had road safety performance been comparable with that in Great Britain.

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