Irish road deaths slumped dramatically in 2010, with just 208 people losing their lives, half the number recorded ten years ago.

Better roads, much greater enforcement, reduced travel due to the recession and increased awareness by the public are all factors say the experts.

"In the last four years we have seen substantial reductions year-on-year," Road Safety Authority chief executive Noel Brett told the Irish Independent.

"The reason there have been fewer deaths is primarily because Irish road users have really taken road safety to heart and the vast majority of road users are really responsible with how they use the road.

"To the small minority who engage in killer behaviour I would urge them again to reflect on their responsibility."

"The recession also has an impact. there are simply less journeys being made.

"All of those factors together have conspired to give us what looks like one of the safest years on Irish roads since records began," Mr Brett said.

He said numbers were still too high.

"Everyone one of those fatalities did not need to happen," Brett added. "That is an appalling situation."

Numbers are expected to plummet further with the new  privately operated mobile speed cameras which came into operation in November.

"Some of our evidence shows us there has been a reduction in speed across the network, the consequence of that reduction has been fewer people killed and seriously injured," Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said.