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ACCIDENTS, INJURIES AND FATALITIES
ROAD TRAFFIC CRASHES
Crashes involving fatalities
The number of fatal road traffic crashes in 2005 (1,481) rose by 37 compared with 2004 (table 22.17). Between 2004 and 2005 fatal crashes in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory rose by 178% and 50% respectively, while Tasmania and Western Australia recorded falls of 7.7% and 6.8% respectively. All other states recorded either relatively small decreases or increases.
The number of people killed was higher in 2005 (1,636) compared with 2004, increasing by 3.3%. The number of people killed in the Australian Capital Territory rose from 9 in 2004 to 26 in 2005, an increase of 189%. The number of people killed in Tasmania fell from 58 in 2004 to 50 in 2005, a fall of 14%.
Road traffic fatalities
The number of deaths from road traffic crashes per 100,000 persons rose from 7.9 in 2004 to 8.1 in 2005. In 1970 the rate was 30.4. Road deaths per 100,000 persons in the Northern Territory in 2005 (27.1) was significantly higher than the national rate (table 22.18). Victoria had the lowest rate of road deaths (6.9 per 100,000 persons) in 2005. The Australian Capital Territory recorded the greatest increase in road deaths per 100,000 persons, from 2.8 in 2004 to 8.0 in 2005 (a rise of 186%), while Tasmania recorded a decrease in road deaths per 100,000 persons of 14%, from 12.0 in 2004 to 10.3 in 2005.
The Northern Territory had the highest number of fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles (5.0) in 2005, an increase of 52% compared with 2004 (3.3). Between 2004 and 2005 fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles rose in the Australian Capital Territory by 185%.
Road fatalities and fatality rates - 1926 to 2005
Australian road fatalities for the period 1926 to 2005 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 2005 of 1,636 was less than half the 1970 figure (although higher than the 1,583 deaths recorded for 2004), while the number of fatalities per 100,000 people (8.1) for 2005 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 2005.
Characteristics of fatal crashes
Two characteristics of fatal crashes for 2000 and 2005 are shown in table 22.21.
In both 2000 and 2005 the majority of fatal crashes occurred on roads where the posted speed limit was 100 kilometres/hour (km/h) and above (47% in 2005), followed by roads with a speed limit of up to 60 km/h (32%). A further 22% of fatal crashes occurred on roads with speed zones of between 65 km/h and 95 km/h.
In both 2000 and 2005 the highest proportion of fatal crashes was single vehicle crashes (42% and 45% respectively). Pedestrian crashes accounted for 18% of crash types in 2000 and 15% in 2005.
International comparisons of road traffic deaths
Australian road traffic deaths are compared with those for other selected OECD nations in table 22.22. Australia's rate of 7.9 road deaths per 100,000 persons in 2004 is considerably lower than the rates of Poland (15.0), United States of America (14.5), Republic of (South) Korea (13.6) and Portugal (12.3). Australia's rate is, however, markedly higher than Sweden (5.3) and the United Kingdom (5.6).
Australia's rate of road deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles (1.2) was below the OECD median (1.4). For the countries listed, the Republic of (South) Korea has the highest death rate per 10,000 registered vehicles (3.6).
The number of fatalities per 100 mill. vehicle-kilometres travelled in Australia in 2004 (0.8) was the same as the OECD median.
Since 1995 the number of aircraft accidents has declined by 50%, from 218 in 1995 to 109 in 2005 (graph 22.23). The number of fatal accidents fell from 23 to 12 (48%) over the same period. In 2005 there were 19 fatalities involving registered civil aircraft, or just under half the fatalities that occurred in 1995. In 2005 there were 109 accidents of which 12 were fatal, compared with 135 accidents of which 10 were fatal in 2004.