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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
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Contents >> Chapter 22 - Transport >> Accidents, injuries and fatalities

ACCIDENTS, INJURIES AND FATALITIES

TRANSPORT ACCIDENT DEATHS

Accident costs include loss of life or injury to people, and the destruction of, and damage to equipment and infrastructure. Table 22.16 shows the number of transport-related deaths for each of the transport modes in the period 1997 to 2003. Transport-related deaths fell from 2,038 in 1997 to 1,811 in 2003. The majority of deaths (69% in 2003) were associated with motor vehicles driven on public roads. Pedestrian deaths fell from 307 in 2002 to 257 in 2003, while the number of pedal cyclist deaths fell from 39 to 27 over the same period.

22.16 DEATHS(a) FROM TRANSPORT ACCIDENTS

Mode(b)
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003

Motor vehicles(c)
1,296
1,287
1,319
1,427
1,382
1,346
1,257
Pedestrians
388
369
373
359
352
307
257
Pedal cyclists
56
44
44
27
45
39
27
Rail
3
8
10
4
5
5
9
Water
50
39
57
51
49
49
51
Air
48
63
50
43
61
32
58
Other(d)
197
176
158
104
110
129
152
Total
2,038
1,986
2,011
2,015
2,004
1,907
1,811

(a) Based on the International Classification of Deaths, Edition 10 (ICD-10). Data in this table relate to year of registration of death and are based on death occurring up to one year following a transport accident. Data will, therefore, differ from the traffic fatalities shown in tables 22.17, 22.18 and 22.23 and graph 22.19 as data in these tables and graph are based on year of occurrence of transport-related deaths which occur within 30 days of an incident.
(b) Mode of transport of deceased persons.
(c) Involving motor vehicles driven on public roads.
(d) Includes riders of animals, agricultural equipment, all-terrain vehicles, industrial and construction vehicles, and unspecified transport accidents.

Source: ABS data available on request, Causes of Death collection.

ROAD TRAFFIC CRASHES

Crashes involving fatalities

The number of road traffic crashes involving deaths in 2004 (1,458) rose by 13 crashes compared with 2003 (table 22.17). Between 2003 and 2004 fatal crashes in Tasmania rose by 33%, fell by 23% in the Northern Territory, and remained the same for the Australian Capital Territory. All other states recorded either relatively small decreases or increases.

The number of people killed was lower in 2004 (1,596) compared with 2003, declining by 2%. The number of people killed in the Northern Territory fell from 52 to 35, a fall of 33%. However, the number of people killed in Tasmania rose from 41 in 2003 to 58 in 2004, an increase of 41%.

22.17 ROAD TRAFFIC CRASHES INVOLVING FATALITIES

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

CRASHES INVOLVING FATALITIES

1994
552
345
364
143
195
52
36
15
1,702
1995
563
371
408
163
194
53
56
14
1,822
1996
538
382
338
162
220
53
58
17
1,768
1997
525
346
322
123
184
29
56
17
1,602
1998
491
348
257
152
199
47
59
20
1,573
1999
506
345
273
132
188
47
44
17
1,552
2000
543
373
275
151
184
38
48
16
1,628
2001
486
404
296
137
151
52
43
15
1,584
2002
501
361
283
138
159
34
40
8
1,524
2003
483
294
284
136
155
39
44
10
1,445
2004
471
313
288
128
162
52
34
10
1,458

PEOPLE KILLED

1994
646
377
418
159
211
59
41
17
1,928
1995
620
418
456
181
209
57
61
15
2,017
1996
581
417
385
181
247
64
72
23
1,970
1997
576
377
361
148
197
32
60
17
1,768
1998
556
390
279
168
223
48
69
22
1,755
1999
577
383
314
151
217
53
49
19
1,763
2000
603
407
317
166
212
43
51
18
1,817
2001
524
444
324
153
165
61
50
16
1,737
2002
561
397
322
154
179
37
55
10
1,715
2003
539
330
310
157
180
41
53
11
1,621
2004
522
343
311
139
178
58
35
10
1,596

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Road traffic fatalities

The number of deaths from road traffic crashes per 100,000 persons fell from 8.2 in 2003 to 7.9 in 2004, continuing the decline since 1970, when the rate was 30.4. Road deaths per 100,000 persons in the Northern Territory in 2004 (17.5) was significantly higher than the national rate (table 22.18). The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest rate of road deaths (3.1 per 100,000 persons) in 2004. The Northern Territory recorded the greatest drop in road deaths per 100,000 persons, from 26.2 in 2003 to 17.5 in 2004 (a fall of 33%), while Tasmania recorded an increase in road deaths per 100,000 persons of almost 40%, from 8.6 in 2003 to 12.0 in 2004.

The Northern Territory had the highest number of fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles (3.3) in 2004, although this was a fall of 34% compared with 2003 (5.0). Fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles rose in Tasmania by 42% between 2003 and 2004.

22.18 ROAD TRAFFIC FATALITIES

2003
2004


no.
per 100,000
persons(a)
per 10,000
motor vehicles
registered(b)
no.
per 100,000
persons(a)
per 10,000
motor vehicles
registered(b)

New South Wales
539
8.3
1.4
522
7.8
1.3
Victoria
330
6.7
0.9
343
6.9
1.0
Queensland
310
8.2
1.2
311
8.0
1.2
South Australia
157
10.2
1.5
139
9.1
1.3
Western Australia
180
9.2
1.3
178
9.0
1.2
Tasmania
41
8.6
1.2
58
12.0
1.7
Northern Territory
53
26.2
5.1
35
17.5
3.3
Australian Capital Territory
11
3.4
0.5
10
3.1
0.5
Australia
1,621
8.2
1.2
1,596
7.9
1.2

(a) Estimated resident population at 30 June.
(b) Number of registered motor vehicles and motor cycles (excludes tractors, caravans, plant and equipment) at 31 March.

Source: Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 March 2004 (9309.0); Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, June 2004 (3201.0); Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Road fatalities and fatality rates - 1926 to 2004

Australian road fatalities in the period 1926 to 2004 are shown in graph 22.19. Road fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles and 100,000 persons for the same period are shown in graph 22.20.

Until 1970, each year other than during the Depression and World War II had seen a steady growth in motor vehicle ownership and a corresponding increase in road deaths. By 1970 the number of vehicles had increased twelve-fold over the number in 1926 and the road toll had increased about four times to reach its highest mark of 3,798 deaths. The number of fatalities per 100,000 people also peaked in 1970 at 30.4. The road toll in 2004 of 1,596 was less than half the 1970 figure, while the number of fatalities per 100,000 people (7.9) for 2004 was less than a third of that of 1970. Also, while there were 8.0 road fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles in 1970, this rate has decreased to 1.2 in 2004.

Graph 22.19: ROAD FATALITIES - 1926 to 2004


Graph 22.20: ROAD FATALITIES


Characteristics of fatal crashes

Some characteristics of fatal crashes for 1999 and 2004 are shown in table 22.21.

In both 1999 and 2004 the majority of fatal crashes occurred on roads where the posted speed limit was 100 km/h and above (45%), followed by roads with a speed limit of up to 60 km/h (33%). A further 22% of fatal crashes occurred on roads with speed zones of between 65 km/h and 95 km/h.

In 1999 the highest proportion of fatal crashes was multiple vehicle crashes (43%), while in 2004 the highest proportion of such crashes was single vehicle crashes (44%). Pedestrian crashes accounted for 19% of crash types in 1999 and 15% in 2004.

The highest number of fatal crashes occurred during the day time in both 1999 and 2004.

22.21 CHARACTERISTICS OF FATAL CRASHES
Speed limit at crash site

Type of crash

Time of day

Time of week

Units
Up to
60 km/h
65-95
km/h
100 km/h
and
above(a)
Ped-
estrian
Single
vehicle
Multiple
vehicle
Day
Night(b)
Week
day
Week-
end(c)

1999
no.
510
334
687
298
584
671
849
702
908
645
1999
%
33.3
21.8
44.9
19.2
37.6
43.2
54.7
45.3
58.5
41.5
2004
no.
479
314
641
221
645
592
794
662
850
608
2004
%
33.4
21.9
44.7
15.2
44.2
40.6
54.5
45.5
58.3
41.7

(a) Includes zones of unrestricted speed.
(b) 6:00 pm to 5:59am all days.
(c) 6:00 pm Friday to 5:59 am Monday.

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Serious injury due to road crashes

In 2002 there were 22,248 people seriously injured in road crashes (table 22.22), a slight decrease compared with 2001. The highest number of people seriously injured were occupants of cars (51%), followed by motorcyclists (20%), bicyclists (11%) and pedestrians (11%).

There were a higher number of males than females with serious injuries due to road crashes in 2002 (nearly twice the number of males to females). This was also the case for all the modes of transport, except buses, where the number of females with serious injuries was higher (153 females compared with 67 males). The number of males with serious injuries was much greater than females for heavy vehicle transport (96%), motorcycles (92%), bicycles and utility trucks and vans (82%), pedestrians (62%) and other vehicles (65%).

The number of males with serious injuries involving motorcycle road crashes was almost twelve times that of females in 2002 (4,167 versus 356). There were also four and a half times the number of males with serious injuries involving bicycle road crashes compared with females (2,094 versus 463). Conversely, there were just over two and a quarter times the number of females seriously injured in road crashes involving buses compared with males in 2002 (153 versus 67).

22.22 PERSONS SERIOUSLY INJURED IN ROAD CRASHES, By mode of transport(a)

Car
Pedestrian
Motorcycle
Heavy transport vehicle
Bicycle
Utility truck
or van
Bus
Other(b)
Total

MALES

2000
6,192
1,760
3,744
327
2,101
193
65
261
14,643
2001
6,391
1,601
3,987
322
1,936
166
82
235
14,720
2002
6,142
1,550
4,167
345
2,094
207
67
244
14,816

FEMALES

2000
5,562
1,107
324
20
498
35
150
136
7,832
2001
5,459
1,053
361
23
453
32
151
143
7,675
2002
5,314
953
356
15
463
45
153
133
7,432

PERSONS

2000
11,754
2,867
4,068
347
2,599
228
215
397
22,475
2001
11,850
2,654
4,348
345
2,389
198
233
378
22,395
2002
11,456
2,503
4,523
360
2,557
252
220
377
22,248

(a) Serious injury is defined as accident victims admitted to hospital as in-patients and who remain there for at least 24 hours, excluding those who die.
(b) Includes three-wheeled motor vehicle, special agricultural/industrial/construction/all-terrain/off-road vehicle, tram, animal or animal-drawn vehicle, train and unknown vehicle.

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

International comparisons of road traffic deaths

Australian road traffic deaths are compared with those for other selected OECD nations in table 22.23. Australia's rate of 8.7 road deaths per 100,000 persons in 2002 is considerably lower than the rates of Portugal (16.1), Poland (15.2), the Republic of (South) Korea (14.9), the United States of America (14.8), Spain (13.2), and France (12.9). Australia's rate is, however, markedly higher than Sweden and the United Kingdom (6.0).

Australia's rate of road deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles (1.3) was below the OECD median (1.8). For the countries listed, the Republic of (South) Korea has the highest death rate per 10,000 registered vehicles (4.9) deaths.

The number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled in Australia in 2002 (0.9) was less than the OECD median (1.1).

22.23 ROAD TRAFFIC FATALITIES, International comparisons - 2002

People killed

Total population
Country
no.
per 100,000
persons
per 10,000
registered vehicles
per 100 million
vehicle km travelled
millions

Australia
1,715
8.7
1.3
0.9
19.6
France
7,655
12.9
2.2
1.4
59.3
Germany
6,842
8.3
1.3
1.1
82.4
Japan
9,575
7.5
1.2
n.a.
127.4
Korea, Republic of (South)
7,090
14.9
4.9
2.3
47.6
New Zealand
404
10.3
1.5
n.a.
3.9
Poland
5,827
15.2
3.8
n.a.
38.2
Portugal
1,675
16.1
1.9
n.a.
10.4
Spain
5,347
13.2
2.1
n.a.
40.4
Sweden
532
6.0
1.1
n.a.
8.9
Switzerland
513
7.1
1.1
0.8
7.3
United Kingdom
3,581
6.0
n.a.
n.a.
59.2
United States of America
42,815
14.8
1.9
n.a.
288.4
OECD median
n.a.
10.3
1.8
1.1
n.a.

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


RAIL AND WATER TRANSPORT ACCIDENTS

There were 51 deaths associated with water transport accidents in 2003, an increase of two deaths compared with 2002 (table 22.16). There were nine rail transport accident-related deaths recorded in 2003, compared with five deaths in the preceding year.

AIR ACCIDENTS

Since 1991 the number of aircraft accidents has declined by 49%, from 265 in 1991 to 135 in 2004 (graph 22.24). The number of fatal accidents fell from 21 to 10 (52%) over the same period. In 2004 there were 21 fatalities involving registered civil aircrafts, or just under half the fatalities that occurred in 1991, and a fall of 38% compared with 2003. In 2004 there were 135 accidents of which 10 were fatal, compared with 134 accidents of which 14 were fatal in 2003.

Graph 22.24: AIR ACCIDENTS, FATALITIES AND FATAL ACCIDENTS(a)


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