Never on Sun­day

On week­ends, the odds of hav­ing a fa­tal ac­ci­dent rise

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

The final fig­ure last year was 1292 deaths, down by 4.4 per cent on 2010 and con­tin­u­ing the steady de­cline from 1603 in 2007.

Also, young­sters are safer as there was a 17 per cent de­cline in the num­ber of 17- to 25-yearolds killed on the road.

But the depart­ment’s fig­ures in­clude a warn­ing for older driv­ers, as the death toll for peo­ple aged over 70 jumped by 13 per cent.

The North­ern Ter­ri­tory con­tin­ues to be the most dan­ger­ous place to drive, with an av­er­age death rate of 19.12 peo­ple for ev­ery 100,000 com­pared with 5.15 and 5.12 fornsw and Vic­to­ria, and only 1.64 for the ACT.

‘‘ It’s a very wel­come out­come,’’ says An­drew Mckel­lar of the Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents state and ter­ri­tory mo­tor­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

‘‘ We’ve seen sus­tained im­prove­ment in the road toll over a num­ber of years.

‘‘ It re­flects a num­ber of dif­fer­ent fac­tors, but there is ob­vi­ously no room for com­pla­cency and con­tin­ued room for im­prove­ment.’’

The AAA at­tributes the fall­ing toll to vastly im­proved cars and even im­prove­ment in roads but Mckel­lar is no fan of in­ap­pro­pri­ate speed cam­era pro­grams.

‘‘ Speed lim­its . . . need to be ap­pro­pri­ate to the set­ting and con­di­tion of the roads,’’ he says

‘‘ Our re­search shows the over­all level of risk on our na­tional high­ways is lower . . . But one in five of our na­tional high­ways is still rated high-risk and that’s un­ac­cept­able.’’

Ve­hi­cle safety tech­nol­ogy has im­proved rad­i­cally in the past 10 years. Only 10-12 years ago two airbags was the limit, but these days four and six airbags are much more com­mon and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol is a re­quire­ment. Such sys­tems will con­tinue to bring greater im­prove­ments in the sta­tis­tics.

The 2011 sta­tis­tics show men are still more than twice as likely as women to be killed on the road, while pedes­tri­ans ac­count for 189 deaths. The num­ber of mo­tor­cy­cle deaths in the year fell by more than 10 per cent to 200.

Safer roads: Rise and fall of Aus­tralian road fa­tal­i­ties

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