Road safety record only beaten by Netherlands: David Nicholson-Lord looks at the latest snapshot of society from the Central Statistical Office

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S roads are among the safest in Europe, according to Regional Trends. Only the Netherlands has a better record.

The number of deaths in road traffic, per 100,000 population, was 9.7 in the UK, compared with 8.9 in the Netherlands. Germany was the third safest country, at 12.9. The most dangerous was Portugal, at 26.9, followed by Luxembourg (24.1) and Greece (20.6).

The document compares the age structure, population and other characteristics of Europe's regions.

Later this year the EC will be publishing, for the first time, its Portrait of Europe's Regions. According to Regional Trends, the UK has the oldest population in Europe and is one of its most densely populated countries.

The percentage of those aged 65 and over is 15.5 in the UK, followed by Denmark (15.3) and Germany (15.2). Ireland has only 10.9 per cent of its population aged 65 and over, the lowest figure in Europe.

Only the Netherlands and Germany in the EC are more densely populated than the UK. However, England alone is more crowded than either of these. The UK, the report says, remains a nation of crowded cities and thinly populated rural areas. North-west and south-east England are the most densely populated regions.

The UK's infant mortality rate, 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births, is slightly above the EC average of 9. The rate ranges from 6.5 in the Netherlands to 14.2 in Portugal.