Never on Sunday
On weekends, the odds of having a fatal accident rise
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