Road deaths in 2008 lowest in almost 60 years

By: Chris Smith


The number of deaths on Australian roads in 2008 was the lowest in nearly 60 years. New official figures released today

The number of deaths on Australian roads in 2008 was the lowest in nearly 60 years.

New official figures released today show 1,463 lives were lost on the nation’s roads during 2008 – an 8.7 percent reduction on 2007 and the first major fall in five years.

Not since 1949 have so few Australians died in road accidents, a remarkable result when you consider there are now 11 times more vehicles on our roads and highways.

Even more encouragingly, there was a 16 percent drop in the number of young P Plater fatalities, the biggest one year drop since 2005.

These figures reflect a range of factors, including the proactive road safety initiatives pursued by all governments over recent years, the efforts of law enforcement authorities and the greater care being taken by motorists when behind the wheel.

Despite the progress made last year, four people are still dying each and every day in road accidents.

The challenge for governments and the broader community is to build on the 2008 results to achieve the target set out in the National Road Safety Strategy.

Almost a decade ago all Australian governments set a target of reducing road fatalities by 40 percent to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people by 2010.

If the 2008 reduction can be repeated this year and next, that target will be achieved and an additional 370 lives saved by the end of 2010.

The Rudd Labor Government will spend $70 million building more rest stops for truckies and plans to provide some 200,000 free driving lessons to learner drivers and their parents.

A full copy of Road Deaths Australia: Monthly Bulletin December 2008 can be downloaded from: www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety.

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