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by Tim Beissmann

The national road toll decreased by almost 10 percent in 2010, with the number of deaths in road crashes down from 1507 in 2009 to 1368 last year.

Queensland led a list of four states to experience a reduction in its road toll, while the Northern Territory had the highest increase in fatalities.

Queensland’s tally dropped from 331 in 2009 to 247 in 2010, a reduction of more than 25 percent.

Police Minister Neil Roberts said a significant proportion of the result had to be credited to the enhanced police influence on the state’s roads.

“We’ve had 106 additional traffic officers on the beat enforcing the road rules,” Mr Roberts told AAP.

“The introduction of covert speed cameras has had a significant impact on driver behaviour.”

The Queensland road toll is the lowest since records started in 1952, both in total numbers and from a ‘rate per 100,000 population’ perspective.

In 2010, the fatality rate was 5.5 per 100,000. The worst rate on record was 1973 when it was 32 per 100,000.

In terms of percentages, Tasmania was the biggest improver. Its road toll was down more than 50 percent from 64 in 2009 to 31 in 2010.

The New South Wales toll dropped 32 to 421, and South Australia shed one fatality for a 2010 total of 118.

Victoria’s road toll went the other way, increasing by one to 291. Western Australia’s tally went up by three (192 total), ACT’s six (18) and Northern Territory’s 19 (50).

The Northern Territory remains the most deadly region on a per capita basis. It has just one percent of the nation’s population but makes up 3.6 percent of the road toll.

Conversely, Victorians account for 25 percent of the population but only 21 percent the road toll, while Queensland has 20 percent of the population but only 18 percent of the vehicle-based fatalities.




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