Ireland has been awarded a European road safety prize for its "exemplary progress" in reducing road deaths in recent years.

The award from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) acknowledges the reduction of road deaths by 31% between 2010-2018, including a 6% fall from 2017-2018.

Receiving the award in Brussels, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said the achievement was down to new legislation from successive governments, a change in public attitudes, and the efforts of victims' families in shaping rules and public opinion.

Mr Ross confirmed the Government would introduce new legislation to tackle speeding using graduated fines.

Overall the number of road deaths in Ireland have fallen from 47 per million population in 2010 to 30 per million in 2018.

Ireland is now ranked second in overall road safety under the ETSC’s scoring system.

The ETSC highlighted National Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020, which implemented 144 measures and "clear responsibilities and deadlines for implementation of measures" as well as the mid-term evaluation of the strategy with stakeholders.

The body also praised the co-ordination of road safety work between authorities with quarterly oversight meetings and the efforts of "a dedicated authority responsible for road safety management the Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA)".

Mandatory roadside tests for alcohol and drugs, "innovative approaches to collision data collection and the development of evidence based road safety interventions", and a commitment to increase traffic gardaí annually until 2020 were also highlighted by the ETSC.

Minister Ross signalled legislation in the autumn on "graduated" speeding penalties.

"The penalties will increase as the speed goes up, what they call graduated penalities," he told RTÉ. "Rather like in the drink driving case, the speedier the people go, the more they break the speed limit, the more serious will be the penalties for them."

Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock welcomed the award, but said there were still concerns over the number of death of young males, especially where alcohol and drugs were involved.