New National Road Death Statistics
The Hon Anthony Albanese
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
August 20 2008
The thirty year decline in the number of people dying on the nation’s roads has stalled in recent years, according to the latest official statistics I’m releasing today: Road Deaths Australia 2007 Statistical Summary.
In fact, the annual road toll has changed little since 2003 and actually rose last year – a situation the newly elected Rudd Labor Government is determined to address with national leadership and fresh ideas.
In 2007, road crashes killed 1,616 motorists, truck drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians – 18 more than in 2006. Among these crashes:
- 47 per cent involved single vehicles only;
- 14 per cent involved pedestrians;
- 16 per cent involved motorcycles; and
- 10 per cent involved articulated trucks.
A list of the report’s key findings is attached.
Encouragingly, the recent focus on young drivers appears to be paying dividends: in 2007 the number of Australians aged 17 to 25 killed on our roads fell 11 per cent.
Despite this progress, the overall figures are evidence that Australia will struggle to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in the road death rate over the decade to 2010 – a target agreed upon by all governments in 2000.
In other words, the target of no more than 5.6 road deaths per 100,000 Australians by 2010 is unlikely to be achieved. The rate for 2007 came in at 7.7.
What’s more, fatality rates are far from uniform across the jurisdictions:
ACT 4.1 deaths per 100,000 people;
Victoria 6.4 deaths per 100,000 people;
NSW 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people;
SA 7.8 deaths per 100,000 people;
Queensland 8.6 deaths per 100,000 people; Tasmania 9.5 deaths per 100,000 people;
WA 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people;
NT 26.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
The recent slowing in progress follows three decades of consistent – at times remarkable – improvements in road safety, with the number of road deaths more than halving due largely to initiatives like random breath testing, speed cameras and the compulsory use of seatbelts.
While the new report is a wake up call to all governments, as well as the broader community, I acknowledge the importance of national leadership in tackling a problem that does not recognise state borders.
After all, road crashes cost the Australian economy some $18 billion a year.
The Rudd Labor Government is focused on making our roads safer for all Australians. We are determined to recapture the momentum of the 80s and 90s so even fewer families have to experience the grief caused by a loved one becoming yet another road statistic.
That’s why we’ve already announced a $70 million package targeting the causes of fatal truck accidents as well as started working with states and territories on the establishment of national road safety council and a new National Road Safety Action Plan.
Road Deaths Australia: 2007 Statistical Summary contains data on fatal road crashes including: the gender and age of road victims; the time of day fatal crashes occurred; and the speed zone vehicles were travelling in at the time of the crash.
The full report can be downloaded from: www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.