Fatalities on Australian roads down over 6% in 2018

Richard Laycock 4 January 2019 NEWS

South Australia sees the largest drop in its road toll, falling by 20% compared to 2017.

It was a better year for Australians on the road in 2018, with 6.69% fewer people losing their lives on the road than in 2017, 1,144 in 2018 compared to 1,226.

South Australia saw the largest reduction overall in road fatalities, with its toll falling from 100 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. However, these figures were for the year-to-date as of 30 December 2018. Victoria saw the second largest year-on-year percentage drop in road fatalities at roughly 17% but also saw the largest drop in the number of fatalities on its roads, with 45 fewer deaths in 2018 versus 2017.

"Victoria has recorded its lowest number of road deaths since records began, but the 214 lives lost on our roads last year is still 214 too many," said Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford in a statement.

Unfortunately, our two mainland territories the ACT and NT both saw their road tolls rise in 2018. The ACT saw its road toll jump by 80%, from 5 in 2017 to 9 fatalities in 2018. The Northern Territory saw its road toll jump about 61%, from 31 in 2017 to 50 in 2018.

State Road toll 2018 Road toll 2017
New South Wales 354 389
Victoria 214 259
Queensland 246 247
South Australia 80 100
Western Australia 158 161
Tasmania 33 34
Northern Territory 50 31
Australian Capital Territory 9 5

Bad driving behaviours continue to top the list for the biggest killers of people on Australian roads.

"Our other big killers – fatigue, drug and alcohol impairment and not wearing a seatbelt again featured in our top contributing factors," said NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command's Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy in a statement.

At a December 2018 press conference in Queensland, Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Command Mike Keating said that there was a surge in road deaths over the holiday period.

"When we published our figures on Christmas day, our total was 237. And we publish our figures on New Year's Day and it's 246," Keating said.

Most alarmingly, according to Keating, was the number of people who lost their lives due to not being restrained or not being properly restrained. This type of accident accounted for 27% of 2018 road fatalities in Queensland, up from 15% in 2017.

In car news

Picture: Shutterstock

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