A report from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the three countries achieved the greatest reductions in annual road deaths between 2001 and 2005.
France, Germany and Malta have the highest level of seatbelt use and the Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany have the greatest improvements in drink-driving levels over the past 10 years.
The report says Britain no longer tops the overall league of road safety, having been deposed by Sweden and the Netherlands. Between 2001 and 2005, there was a 7% reduction in UK road deaths, compared to 25% in Sweden and the Netherlands and 35% in France.
Average speed on UK urban roads has dropped by 9%, but on roads where the top speed is 60mph there has been a 9% increase.
The report blames drink-driving for the UK’s poor figures. Driving speeds have also increased on motorways in Austria and on rural roads in Estonia, Latvia and Poland.
Professor Richard Allsop, chairman of the Road Safety Performance Index, said: “Europe’s ambitious target of halving road deaths within a decade can only be reached if all countries learn from one another’s experiences.”
Franziska Achterberg, head of communication for the ETSC, added: “There are great disparities between European countries when it comes to compliance with road safety law. The European Union can help by setting high common standards for police enforcement.”