RIGA's Latvia's roads may retain their reputation for dangerous driving,but the picture does seem to be improving.
Atotal of 86 people aged 24 and under died on the country's roads lastyear 's a reduction of 49 compared to the previous year and a dropof more than 170 on the 2000 figure. The vast majority of that numberconsists of males. Young Latvian men are notoious for theiraggressive and dangerous risk-taking behind the wheel.
Figuresrelating to levels of mortality among young people in 2006 show thatmost trends are positive. 547 young people lost their lives during2006, a figure which is down 48 on 2005 and down 219 on the 2000results.
Theonly significant area in which the trend is upwards is circulatorydiseases, with 37 young Latvians dying last year against 28 in 2000.This may be explained by increasing levels of smoking among youngpeople.
Despitethe improvements, in comparison with other countries of Europe, theBaltic States, including Latvia, still have one the highest rates ofmortality among young people.