Driving in Europe is the safest it's been in over 10 years, according to a report from the independent European Transport Safety Council. Fatalities on European Union and Swiss roads fell to around 12,000 in 2012, less than half of the 28,000 deaths in 2001.

Of course, there are a number of things to thank for this – safer cars are far and away the most obvious cause, thanks to both passive and active safety systems that make it less likely to be involved in an accident and less dangerous if one actually occurs.

According to the ETSC, Spain and Latvia made the biggest improvements between 2001 and 2012, with a 66-percent reduction. Poland had the most dangerous roads, though, with 11 deaths per billion kilometers travelled. Compare that with two deaths per billion klicks in nations with better developed road networks, like Great Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and it's clear the Poles have some work to do.

Despite this pretty healthy improvement, the ETSC thinks Europe can do better.

"It is simply wrong that 12,000 still die every year for reasons that are mostly avoidable," the Council's executive director, Antonio Avenoso, said in a statement.

In a further bid to reduce deaths, lawmakers are being pushed to enact stricter laws against drunk driving, with Reuters reporting that the ETSC wants to make ignition interlocks mandatory for people that have been convicted of driving under the influence. It also wants to push more strongly for seatbelt reminders, which are apparently only required for the driver.

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