Fatalities on Australian roads have decreased by more than a quarter over the past seven years, according to official government data.
The ‘Road Deaths Australia 2013 Statistical Summary’ released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) shows the number of people killed in fatal crashes decreased 25.6 per cent between 2007 and 2013.
The report also says the reduction over the past decade represents a decrease of more than 35 per cent with population increase taken into account.
Australia’s road toll (which includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists) fell to 1193 last year, down more than 100 from the previous year and down from 1603 in 2007.
Victoria reported the biggest road toll reduction in raw numbers in 2013, with fatalities down 40 to 242, while the Northern Territory reported a 24.5 per cent drop, with road deaths down from 49 to 37.
South Australia and Tasmania were the only two states to report increased death tolls last year, up four and five respectively.
The number of road users aged between 17 and 25 that have been killed on Australian roads has almost halved in the past eight years, down from 435 in 2006 to 229 in 2013.
Deaths in the 65- to 74-year-old age bracket increased 25 per cent last year to 120 – the highest level in the past decade – though the report says most of this increase can be accounted for by the growing population in this age group and increased road use exposure.
Males remain over-represented in the statistics, accounting for 71.8 per cent of all fatalities on Australia’s roads in 2013.
A statement from the office of Infrastructure and Regional Development says while the statistics are encouraging, the Federal Government is “committed to doing more to ensure our transport networks are safer and more productive across urban and regional Australia”, highlighting its Budget promises of a $500m investment into the national Black Spot Program and $2.1b towards Roads to Recovery over the next five years.