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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Transport

ROAD SAFETY

Road safety is an important indicator of progress. Improved road safety may reduce the accidental death or injury of drivers, passengers and bystanders.

Considerable effort has been made in Australia to reduce deaths and injuries from motor vehicle accidents. This has included the introduction of compulsory seat belt requirements; installation of red light and speed cameras; improving the design of roads and vehicles (including airbags); strengthening and enforcing the laws governing road use; and increasing public awareness of road safety. As a result, the number of road accident fatalities has declined over the last four decades despite population growth and increased motor vehicle use.

At its peak in 1970, Australia recorded 3,798 road fatalities for the year. This figure more than halved to an annual average of 1,641 road deaths between 2000 and 2008, and by 2008 this figure had declined further to 1,465 road fatalities for the year. The number of road accident fatalities per capita during this time fell more significantly, from a peak of 30.4 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 6.9 in 2009.

Less information is available about the significant number of people seriously injured in road accidents. In 2006, it was estimated that 20 people were seriously injured for every recorded road death in Australia. This statistic is important as it represents social and economic burdens for the individuals and families involved (BITRE 2008).

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