Still more work to be done, 2010 road crash statistics show

29 December 2011

The NSW Centre for Road Safety has cautiously acknowledged a reduction in the annual road toll for 2010, but has urged all motorists to take heed of the road safety risks which continue to end the lives of hundreds of people each year.

“Last year there were 405 fatalities on NSW roads, down by 48 from the previous year - that’s an extra 48 people who will be spending Christmas with their families this year and the second lowest road toll since 1944,” NSW Centre for Road Safety Acting General Manager Margaret Prendergast said.

“However, we can’t ignore the fact there are still many disturbing contributing factors to fatal crashes which could be avoided.

“In 2010 speed, alcohol, fatigue and failure to use a seat belt or helmet were leading contributing factors in fatal crashes.

“These are all things motorists can act on to ensure they and their passengers get to their destination safely,” she said.

Of the 42,299 recorded crashes last year, 19,336 of these crashes resulted in 405 fatalities and 24,623 injuries.

“The estimated cost to the community from all crashes was more than $5.1 billion, but there is no price on a life or the devastating injuries many victims receive from road trauma,” Ms Prendergast said.

“To tackle the issues which are at the centre of many fatal crashes, road safety campaigns are running during important times to remind motorists of avoidable risks.”

During December and January the NSW Government’s successful “Don’t Rush” road safety campaign featuring Associate Professor Brian Owler is running to help reduce road deaths and injuries in NSW by questioning the value of rushing on the road.

Around 11 per cent of all vehicle occupant fatalities were not wearing an available seat belt, with 74 per cent of these fatalities occurring on country roads.

To address this behaviour during the holiday period, the “Clip Every Trip” campaign is running at regional cinemas across the state to remind motorists and their passengers to belt up.

Where alcohol results for a crash were known, drink driving was a factor in more than half of fatal crashes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and in 19 per cent of all fatal crashes.

To remind motorists during the holiday season about the risks of drink driving, the familiar anti-drink driving “Paranoia” advertising campaign is running during the Christmas and New Year period to deter motorists from drinking and then getting behind the wheel. This campaign supports other strategies used to reduce drink driving on NSW roads including enforcement and school based education programs.

Holiday motorists are being urged to heed the warning signs of fatigue in the NSW Government’s latest “Wake Up to The Signs” road safety campaign which recently started.

Fatigue was determined to be a factor in at least 15 per cent of the 365 fatal crashes in 2010.

“Where we can, we will continue to target behaviour on our roads which has an impact on the NSW road toll,” Ms Prendergast said.

“At the same time, important initiatives from the five year $170 million Road Toll Response Package continue to be rolled out.

“This includes initiatives covering pedestrian safety, motorcycle safety, speed management, heavy vehicle safety, as well as road safety upgrades including highway safety reviews, the installation of rumble strips, wire rope barriers and the widening of road shoulders in high crash areas,” she said.

The NSW Centre for Road Safety’s Statistical Statement of Road Traffic Crashes summarises NSW crash statistics in 2010.

It shows compared to the previous year fatal crashes and fatalities declined by around 10 per cent, while the number of injury crashes and injuries rose slightly.

The fatality rate per population was the second lowest since records began in 1908.

Fatal crashes continued to be overrepresented on country roads with country residents accounting for almost three quarters of the motorists involved in these crashes.

While 34 per cent of all recorded crashes happened on country roads, this rose to 68 per cent for fatal crashes. Per head of population a country resident is around four times more likely to be killed in a road crash compared with a metropolitan resident.

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