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Update: Figures corrected & Tasmania included

With another year over the national road authorities have began reviewing the road toll to examine if their tactics have proven successful. As a nation, Australia’s 2007 road toll was has increased by 11 over last year’s 1605. The bush saw a steady climb in deaths on regional and outback roads.

1616 people lost their lives on Australian roads this year with New South Wales topping the table with 445 deaths.

Queensland, which has spent considerable amounts of money (campaign 300) increasing speed cameras, police presence and RBTs, saw its death toll hit 360 – 60 more than the transport authorised had aimed for and the second-highest in the country. It was also the state’s worst record since 1997.

Victoria came in third with 333 deaths including 13 in the last 10 days of the year – the second lowest road toll for the state. Western Australia came in fourth after suffering a surge in rural deaths. The state recorded 235 deaths, a 14 per cent increase over 2006 (200).

Queensland Police Recruits Toyota Aurion

South Australia had 125, coming in fifth place. The Northern Territory saw its road toll rise almost 25 per cent, with 57 deaths this year. Tasmania suffered 47 deaths and 14 lives were lost in on ACT roads, up one from 2006.

Despite the highest road toll in the country, NSW’s 2007 record was the best for the state since 1980 (per capita).

This is the fifth consecutive year the road toll has reduced despite a steady increase in traffic on our roads. Motorists deserve credit for heeding the road safety messages.” NSW Premier Morris Iemma said.

Queensland authorities on the other hand have a lot to answer for. The highly publicised campaign 300 has failed miserably in bringing the road toll below 300.

Unfortunately, not only has it failed, but the road toll has increased by almost 7 per cent (337 in 2006). The extra speed cameras have proven to be nothing more than a successful revenue-raising scheme.

Victorians should expect a drink-driving blitz throughout this year with statistics showing a 16 per cent increase in fatalities involving drivers under the influence.

Our friends at Vic Roads were kind enough to ends us a table of the fatality rate per million population (based on population figures in 2004).

Population 2007 road toll (p) Fatality Rate per million population
ACT 324,100 14 43.2
NSW 6,720,800 445 66.2
Vic 4,963,000 333 67.1
SA 1,532,700 125 81.6
Qld 3,888,100 360 92.6
Tas 482,200 47 97.5
WA 1,978,100 235 118.8
NT 199,800 57 285.3
Total 20,088,800 1616 80.4

The data shows the ACT is by far the safest state in the country with NSW and Victoria battling it out for 2nd and 3rd. South Australia comes in fourth with Queensland and Tasmania fifth and sixth. Western Australia comes in second last, but the Northern Territory has taken the cake again this year with over 6x the fatality rate of the ACT.

Despite calls from major motoring groups, government authorities continue to deny the benefits of driver training.

Tell us what you think is the best way to reduce the road toll?

  • Adam J

    thees figures are meaningless if they are used to say we have improved our road safety, they only account for deaths, with better car safety every single year, you can’t in any way credit the police force for any reduction.

    People need to be relicensed every 3 years, its that simple, we would have far better drivers if everyone had to redo their test every 3 years. Some people have simply forgotten the road rules, and as the article says, speed cameras really need to be re-examined.

  • Oz.

    POOR COMMODORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

  • Adam (aka Mada)

    And speeding kills?? right…
    The queensland goverment have no idea.

  • TP

    Right on AdamJ… you will see the cops take the credit for any reductions, like in NSW, the news mentioned how its going down and attributed it to the Police… sorry safety aids such as ESP and more airbags would contribute far more, I doubt people have slowed down in their driving at all since the 90s (Well thats a lie, they have slowed down every 40km for 40m when they go through a speed camera)

  • Owen

    Let’s start with driver education. Yesterday afternoon whilst driving back to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane (in occasional rain) an old Hyundai was in the right hand lane with L plates on it. The driver was doing less than 100 and would NOT move over. The young woman had an equally young (licensed?) passenger beside her. When are we going to get seriously tough on not only retesting drivers, but also having properly qualified teachers of driving instruct these learners?

  • Lee

    I think the road toll is based purely on luck.
    The amount of times while travelling this Christmas that I saw a car stray onto the wrong side of the road was dumbfounding!!! I actually saw a Camry driver drive completely miss a corner (signposted as 85kmh in a 100kmh zone) and go around the corner on the wrong side of the road.
    How do the police/government take credit for that not being a very serious accident?
    They can’t, it was just pure luck that someone else was not on that bit of road at that exact time!!!!
    The number of people that we saw texting etc. while travelling at 100kmh was completely mind blowing (as well as the woman we overtook driving with both elbows while lighting a cigarette…..)
    Just lucky we made the holiday trip in one piece I guess….

  • Tom H

    Lets talk about playing on statistics, Every year a couple of thousand more people get there license or migrate here with a license, Ofcourse our death toll is going to rise if you keep chucking more pea’s in the pot. Deal with it, death is inevitable and all the ‘Road Safety Camera’ (Or a fantasic way to build goverment revenue) is going to fix this problem, there is no easy way to fix a conjested problem if you keep adding more people to it!

  • Andrew M

    all speeding does is worsens the consequences if soemthing does go wrong.

    it think its something like 95% are caused by human error.

    as with mobile phones why cant a device to scramble them while the vehicle is running be implemented? the radios in cars can sure pick up a message before it comes through so why not have some device that wont let you unlock the phone while the car is moving? and not let you answer until you pull over or it is connected through the cars handfree system?

    then theres the idiots that think if they run the merge lane past the white lines in congested traffic to make up one spot they will get home half an our earlier.

    also our roads play a massive part in accidents so why not spend the advertising budget there.
    we have a shocking motorway here in QLD that has claimed countless lives due to its design where you exit from the right lane and also merge into it.
    finally they are in the middle of redesigning it

  • Andrew M

    thats right Tom H,
    if you do play the actual statistics of it the road toll is actually going down when you consider all the extra people and vehicles

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony

    Just make new cars cheaper to buy so that we can update every 5 years and you would save a stack of lives.

    Or you could just build more divided roads – but that would be silly wouldn’t it?

  • Lcat

    This country needs a world leading vision on road safety
    that changes the core culture.
    Driving is all about decision making and if u ain’t got A&B
    right u are going to make some lousy choices along the way, regardless of how may years u have been driving or how developed ur technical skills are.
    Start by making road safety an integral part of the education system from kindergarten to years 10/12 with a standard national curriculum.

  • Godspeed

    Some damn good ideas here from pretty much everyone hey. Why doesn’t anyone involved in the decision making take any frigging notice?

  • Plutonus

    Because the good suggestions made here COST money, whereas speed cameras MAKE money. :)

  • Staggers

    I’ve never seen a Toyota Aurion cop car before…

  • Oz.

    In QLD there are some Toyota cops, but not many.

  • Watto_Cobra

    Some of the different cop cars I’ve seen in my area besides the usual Falcon & Commodore :-

    Subaru (don’t know which one, Forester maybe?)

  • Plutonus

    I’ve seen a red highway patrol Aurion in QLD, had black wheels too.

  • Phillip

    The solution is to get cars off the road. Put in a high-speed train link from Sydney to Melbourne, stopping in Canberra and Albury on the way. If we had decent infrastructure in this country (like they have in Europe), people would use it.

  • Albert Knowles

    The main problem is poor driver behavior & the almost total lack of enforcement of the road rules. You can drive like a total loon on Victorian roads & unless you have a smash or a camera takes your pic you suffer no consequence. Police presence & the immediate enforcement of the road rules is required. Apart from the dreadful state of many vehicles on the road, no functioning brake lights, worn tires etc, lane changing on whim & tail gating are main concerns. When traveling at 100 kmh the distance between vehicles should be no less than 50 metres, but often the distance is less than 5 metres. Until the authorities get real about road safety & get the police out on the roads, 24 /7 then Victorian roads will continue to resemble the wild west.

  • John of Perth

    1. reduce(halve) no of demerits required to keep license
    2. make driver retesting mandatory on a completely randomn basis so that drivers keep their knowledge of road rules up to date
    3. For those States that don’t, introduce annual or bi-annual vehicle inspections
    4. Make daytime running lights mandatory on country roads and change ADRs to interlock parking lights from being used when vehicle engine is running and vehicle is in motion
    5. introduce mandatory advanced driver’s courses for all newly licensed drivers
    6. Breath testing engine start interlocks for drink/drugs

    Just my thoughts after covering nearly 2million k’s on Australian roads.

  • http://www.finalgear.com/ Andrew

    I live in Brisbane and the driving here is quite bad. People rarely keep left on the freeway, using indicators seems to be a rarely used feature and tailgating is prolific.

    To fix it we need to get back to the basics and reinforce the message that driving is a responsibility. It’s something you should be proud of, that common courtesy and respect goes along way in reducing the tension on the roads. Currently I get the impression from the majority of Brisbane drivers that driving is some sort of hassle that stops you from texting your mates.

    I will continue to try and help by doing what I can. I’ll let people in, keep left and always indicate but this will all be done from my 5 star ANCAP car.

  • KimJ

    The story has forgotton to include the 2007 Tasmanian road toll of 47. When you include these 47 the 2007 National road toll was 1616, 11 more than 2006. At this stage all State & Territory 2007 figures are provisional, so the total could change again, but not by much. It is odds on that the 2007 total was an increase on 2006. The National road toll for 2004 was 1583, so we have gone backwards by 33 in the last three years. Considering the ongoing improvements in vehicle safety, both primary and secondary, and improvements in medical response times and treatment (keeping alive people who may have died in earlier years), this is a damning indictment of Australian road safety policies and strategies in general. Until politicians and police move away from their obsession with speed and concentrate on driver quality, the situation is unlikely to improve much if at all.

  • Owen

    I applaud the various comments above. Significantly you cannot legislate for people to be forced to care – many don’t. Example – just the other day here in QLD a 29yo mother with 2 kids in the back caught drag racing a bike on a suburban street at considerably over the limit. This, texting at the wheel, one guy finishing his noodle box whilst doing 60 (including using chop sticks) just isn’t solved by legislation alone. We as road users have to go back to basics and just care about other road users. Judging by how many mobile phones are used during films, theatre and EVEN operas, I somehow think this is not the government’s job, it’s ours. Meanwhile, congratulations to the many (in the majority) who do drive responsibly. Continue to be a model of good driving so that some lesser drivers have at least something to emulate.

  • Michael Campbell

    The road toll is no surprise when responsible legislators display their lack of inteligence with the following snippets
    Capping the speed limit in the NT which resulted in an immediate increase in road fatalities. Why? Dont have to concentrate anymore – the first requirement for a serious road accident.
    NSW restricted new drivers to maximum 80KPH – immediate mobile traffic jams – a recipe for road rage and dangerous driving. Glad I dont drive for a living in NSW
    Police just booked a QLD L plater and his father for displaying the L plate on the inside of the back window and not on the exterior of the car. Perhaps they couldn’t find anybody commiting more serious offences.
    Sarina QLD police (not to be outdone by NSW) made the headlines by booking a girl in a Falcon ute because the tip of the wiper arm touched the “FORD” banner accross the top of her windscreen. She said she didn’t know she had to watch for low flying aircraft.
    Until police are allowed to monitor all the bad habits so evident on our highways and not just the ones that generate Government revenue, and Governments introduce adequate driver training and improved road design, we will continue to see increased road trauma. Lets increase the “fatal four” to at least “10”

  • Spitfire

    Of all the suggestions I have seen here the most stupid is that of re testing of drivers. This will not make one iota of difference and to suggest otherwise is naive and stupid.

  • Duck

    The commy has hit a pole, u can tell if u look at the bonnet.

  • David

    Dare I say all the ABS, traction control, stability control in modern cars is just dumbing down drivers? We need to learn how to drive to stay out of trouble rather than drive cars that will get us out of trouble due to our own stupididty or inattention. And take a serious look at smoking behind the wheel. Of all the people I have known to be involved in accidents in my 35 years on the road, lighting a smoke or reaching for cigarettes has resulted in a crash for about half.

  • David

    Their is a limit to what can be done to prevent deaths on the road & some expect the number to probably plateau around the current level.Those that continuously have an axe to grind in regard to enforcement issues should remember 1034 were killed on roads in Victoria alone in 1970.A campaign commenced & the road toll steadily decreased.Agree with Lee in part that for some it is pure luck & have saved myself a few times by hanging back, decreasing speed,awareness of blind spots of other drivers,driving according to road conditions & ensuring there is space around you.
    This is what defensive driving should be about.
    Some do not perceive hazards as others do & as such a percentage will be road toll fodder & any amount of retesting,defensive driving courses will not help them.
    Relying on vehicle safety systems to reduce the toll is an admission of failure,you dont drive in a manner where these are deployed in the first place.
    Autobahn style roads in Australia=TOLLS.

    • Ray

      David, that zenith in deaths at 1970 wasn’t reduced by any campaign. It was hauled down by 25% immediately compulsory belt wearing was introduced. As more people started to wear belts over the next decade there was further improvement, then RBTs started a decade later and there was a 30% reduction.

      These are the only measures EVER taken by authorities that have done any good.

  • David

    ^^^^^Different Davids

  • Charles Darwin

    Looking at the road crash statistics for South Australia for 2007, for these gave a good analysis of gender vs

    58 drivers were killed in crashes, of whom 52 were male, and six female. Maybe if men drove more like women, the numbers would decline LOTS. I see (young) men driving like lunatics every day, but girls of a similar age seem quite responsible.

  • Charles Darwin

    Looking at the road crash statistics for South Australia for 2007, for these gave a good analysis of gender vs deaths…

    58 drivers were killed in crashes, of whom 52 were male, and six female. Maybe if men drove more like women, the numbers would decline LOTS. I see (young) men driving like lunatics every day, but girls of a similar age seem quite responsible.

  • Ben

    The NT removed the open speed limit and increased their road toll by 25%. What more proof did they need that the introduction of speed limits on major highways in the NT was nothing more than a grab for federal funding?

  • Robyn Mitchell

    It is important that we know the road fatalities statistics, but I believe it is just as important for the road accident injury statistics to be published as well, with categories such as mild, serious, severe etc.. there are countless people who will never walk again, or are in vegetative states, severely brain damaged, terrible burns and amputations ad infinitum.. I think we do a disservice to those who have survived such horror smashes, especially when they are the victim of another person’s dangerously selfish driving.

  • Fred

    The Fed takes about 15 billion in fuel tax and GST each year but spends less than 3 billion on roads. If speed kills how come Germany got such a low death rate.

    This is from South Africa.

    German road death toll lowest in 55 years

    February 26, 2008

    Fewer people died on German roads in 2007 than at any time since 1953, the year in which the government began to keep records.

    The Federal Statistics Office said the death toll, at 4970, was 2.4 percent lower than 2006 but the number of road injuries rose by 2.2 percent during the same period to 431 500

    Safer cars meant fewer deaths – ADAC

    The number of accidents also increased, by 2.7 percent to to 2.3-million.

    Germany’s major motoring organisation, the ADAC, said better car crash protection features had helped to keep more people alive. Better roads, safer motorways and better driving instruction also contributed.

    There are around 42-million cars in Germany’s – not counting the thousands that pass through daily en route to other countries across Europe.

    South Africa’s annual road death toll is around 30 000 – Sapa-DPA

  • John froTNT

    I truely believe its all to do with money. If you was to reduce the amount of vehicle accidents on the roads by removing poor drivers, who would financially suffer the most?

    Bad drivers are an economy, those who gain the most start at the top with the Judges and Lawyers (mostly pollies best friends), Insurance agents etc. many others that earn in between all the way down to the smash repairers, spare parts distributors and of course the tow truck drivers who all depend on bad drivers to help fill their pockets.

    Many people stand to lose too much money if laws were made to remove the bad/incompetent drivers from the road, the unfortunate lives that are lost are the sacrafice made for the sake of one more dollar.

    One thing that astounds me is we are all afraid of a Great White Shark, Saltwater Croc, King Brown Snake or a Funnel Web Spider but they not nearly kill as much as bad drivers do. We almost made the Great White become extinct from our fear of them. But we see a bad driver and think of it as the normal thing. Even though the chances are they will take your life or a loved one are much higher then any creature.

    I was pulled over a couple of months ago in the work truck that was going uphill and lucky to hit the low 60k’s in a 60 zone. I had not more than half hour ago passed the police as I was going the opposite way back to the depot so I knew they were waiting there. I was passed by a speeding driver I thought the police for sure was going to book but they insisted pulling me over, I asked why did they pull me over for and was informed it was a truck check, I asked why he didnt he bother with the speeding motorist that wouldve been doing at least 80+k’s his answer was “We weren’t after him we were after you” with a smartass grin on his face. After me because truck fines are quite more substantial then normal car fines.

    Its all Money before safety!

    I could be wrong?

  • richie

    my 2 cents:

    – make the value of the fine consider the financial income of the individual

    i.e. this is not for profit but rather awareness to the population control which, obviously is the climate goal of the governments pursuit to their forever growing list of various fines

    – notice the growth in population and you can see that their attempt is working but i think this is a large waste of tax dollars which we can use or at least attempt to save for the Australian economy

    i say that last point because in case you are living a dream, getting “work” done in Australia is really expensive.

    well, its our lives we play with – its up to the population to understand this.

  • Samanthaa

    I believe if they want to save peoples lifes, why have a car that can do 240km when the max legal speed is 110??????

    Having Cars that can only do 110 at the max would reduce the deaths on our roads i think!.

    & also if the fat lazy pigs got off there ass’s and actually you know did there job are breatho people and drug test people would also help insted of sitting in their car with the camera on it.!

  • http://www.lightsonthehill.com Kathy

    Road safety starts with you. sadly we all need to think about that.

  • Michael

    I Have a great idea that could be installed into cars and or any automotive vehicle that will keep the attention span of a driver and to matain the focus. This is where I believe the problem lies with current drivers. Does anyone know of someone that I can talk to to put this idea forward.

  • kym

    Interesting that about 1000 men lose their lives to csa/family court induced suicide annually.I don’t know of a program or government “tactic”to reduce this statistic.I suppose of course there is not a dollar to be made by actually saving lives.