Lowest road toll in 51 years

johnboy 1 January 2012 49

ACT Policing has recorded a single digit road toll of six in 2011, making it the lowest road toll since 1959 and a two-third reduction from 2010.

The last fatality on ACT roads was recorded in March, making the ACT the only jurisdiction in Australia to not record a road fatality over the past nine months.

Acting Superintendent Jeff Knight said achieving the lowest road toll in half a century was an indication of changing attitudes in Canberra drivers to road safety.

“Any fatality on our roads is a tragedy, however achieving the lowest road toll in over 50 years marks a noticeable improvement,” Acting Superintendent Knight said.

A NRMA-ACT Road Safety Trust-funded study into the ACT’s driving culture found that the ACT has Australia’s second highest rate of registered passenger vehicles per 1,000 people at 599. Despite this, the ACT has recorded the lowest road toll for 2011 across Australia.

“The ACT has a relatively good road safety record in comparison to other Australian states and territories. One of the reasons for this is because the road systems are established, well planned and it is a small jurisdiction,” Acting Superintendent Knight said.

Over the last 12 months, ACT Policing has been working proactively and cooperatively with the ACT Government and other stakeholders to prevent and respond to fatalities in the ACT.

“There is no magic bullet for preventing tragic deaths on our roads. So many factors have contributed to last year’s low road toll, including increased driver awareness, advances in our technology, increased police patrols targeting traffic and joint ACT Government and ACT Policing road safety campaigns.”

“While Traffic Operations conducts the planning for many operations and can undertake specific targeted enforcement activity, all police in the ACT, particularly General Duties officers, are crucial to our road safety plans,” Acting Superintendent Knight said.

The introduction of the Recognition and Analysis of Plates Identified (RAPID) technology in July 2010 has also had a real impact on ACT roads, by identifying drivers who pose the greatest risk to other road users.

“Statistics show approximately one-third of fatal collisions in the ACT involve unregistered/uninsured or unlicensed drivers. By getting these drivers and vehicles off the road before they are involved in a collision, we are making our roads safer.”

“Many of the deaths recorded on our roads this year were preventable, as alcohol or drugs, speeding and other unsafe behaviours were a contributing factor. We are aiming for a further reduction in the road toll for 2012,” Acting Superintendent Knight said.

The ACT is only jurisdiction in Australia to have recorded zero road fatalities so far this Christmas-New Year holiday period.

Double demerits continue to apply until midnight Monday 2 January.

The ACT road toll for 1950 to 2002 can be accessed from the Department of Infrastructure website.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]


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49 Responses to Lowest road toll in 51 years
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thatsnotme thatsnotme 10:10 pm 03 Jan 12

Tooks said :

gooterz said :

No doubt that most of the act can afford newer cars helped in the stats. its much easier to die in a car without an airbag.
Not to mention the act has some of the fewest intersections.

Explain the 2010 road toll then.

Mully.

Bramina Bramina 8:36 pm 03 Jan 12

JC said :

It is good this year had a low road toll, however it gets under my skin when people (especially those in power such as the Superintendent) try and correlate road toll, over a 1 year sample to driver behavior.

Bottom line is in a place with a population the size of Canberra, an arbitrary sample of a calendar year is not going to produce any meaningful data. I mean to say look at what happened, we had 6 deaths in 3 months and then none in the last 9. Was there a massive change of driver behavior since March, I think not. The only way that this can be explained is luck, or a statistical abnormality. Same is true in the years where there is a sudden jump.

If we want any meaningful information from road toll, we need to look at trends over a number of years, and that trend has been downwards, thanks to safer cars, better roads and policing.

The only

Exactly. What if some idiot speeding back to Sydney from the snow had caused a head on collision on the Monaro in the ACT and god forbid, killed 10 people. People in the ACT make billions of decisions every year, and only the slightest change to one decision can double the road toll. But what if this accident happened just over the border… do we pat ourselves on our backs again?

I was thinking about it today. There are probably lots of things that lead to a reduced road toll: driver education, driver training, longer term P plates, RBTs, speed traps, anti hoon laws, better roads, better cars, short trip times, better emergency services and better emergency medical care.

Even mobile phones probably lead to reduced fatalities, because people can call help instantly, instead of trying to find a phone booth or knock on doors.

Ian Ian 7:49 pm 03 Jan 12

I look forward to the frantic response and in depth analysis when there’s a fatality in January and we need to take action because its double the monthly average in 2011. That will of course only be fixed with more speed cameras.

whitelaughter whitelaughter 6:16 pm 03 Jan 12

tidalik said :

thatsnotme said :

I’d like to know how many people were maimed on Canberra roads in the past year. How many people will live for the rest of their lives with a disability or injury due to a car accident? How many people didn’t make the evening news (or this press release) because they somehow survived?

Celebrating a low death toll, while ignoring the harm that non-fatal accidents can cause, seems somewhat disingenuous to me.

+1

+2
Additionally, including other serious accidents means a bigger sample pool, so chance plays a smaller part in determining good/bad years: making it easier to see when things are truly getting better/worse.
+1 to query about ACT drivers dying elsewhere as well.

Instant Mash Instant Mash 4:05 pm 03 Jan 12

Certainly a lot of lucky maniacs, this year.

Seriously though, that’s a massive surprise.

Chop71 Chop71 2:17 pm 03 Jan 12

PantsMan said :

So NRMA is going to put our CTP premiums down?

Sorry, wait, no… I’m just stuck in ‘silly season’ thinking.

Considering they have a monopoly = No, we will continue to pay plenty

Tooks Tooks 2:01 pm 03 Jan 12

Very Busy said :

Tooks said :

Very Busy said :

With all the strategies put in place to catch speeding motorists there is NO strategy to enforce the non use of mobile phones while driving.

Do you drive around in a marked police car? Thought not.

Fact – you have no idea about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

No I don’t drive around in a marked police car, and that comment highlights my point. It is pretty pathetic to suggest that the strategy for dealing with mobile phone use by ACT drivers should be to use a marked police car. OMG.

Fact – you have absolutely no idea what I know about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

It’s pretty pathetic to suggest that that’s what I was suggesting. I’d love to hear your strategies though. If you can come up with something intelligent, the cops might even use your idea.

Fact – you have absolutely no idea what I know about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

I know you know sweet FA about it, judging by your comments. You make baseless claims (“they brag about 20 tins a month”) then throw a tanty when you’re called out on it.

Very Busy Very Busy 10:31 am 03 Jan 12

Tooks said :

Very Busy said :

With all the strategies put in place to catch speeding motorists there is NO strategy to enforce the non use of mobile phones while driving.

Do you drive around in a marked police car? Thought not.

Fact – you have no idea about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

No I don’t drive around in a marked police car, and that comment highlights my point. It is pretty pathetic to suggest that the strategy for dealing with mobile phone use by ACT drivers should be to use a marked police car. OMG.

Fact – you have absolutely no idea what I know about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

Tooks Tooks 7:33 am 03 Jan 12

Very Busy said :

dungfungus said :

I heard an emergency services official stating on ABC Radio a while ago that a high percentage of fatals were the result of drivers losing control while using mobiles. The penalties for using a mobile while driving are too lenient – there should be mandatory custodial sentences.

You may well be correct, but, regardless of the penalties, I cannot comprehend the lack of enforcement in relation to mobile phone use.

The police do a blitz and brag about catching 20 mobile phone users in a week. I would easily see that number myself in half a day. Now that is bloody pathetic. With all the strategies put in place to catch speeding motorists there is NO strategy to enforce the non use of mobile phones while driving.

Do you drive around in a marked police car? Thought not. Where is the media release bragging about 20 mobile phone tickets in a week?

Fact – you have no idea about the level of enforcement in relation to mobile phone TINs.

Tooks Tooks 7:32 am 03 Jan 12

Mr Gillespie said :

They record the lowest figure in half a century, and they want it “even lower”? How low do you want to go? What are they, perfectionists? They’re dreaming if they can have a zero toll every year!!! Sorry, the world (including the small jurisdiction called the ACT) is not perfect!

So, you got a lobotomy for Christmas. Good for you.

Bramina Bramina 11:57 pm 02 Jan 12

I wonder how much of the decrease in fatalities in past decades is due to better emergency response and medical care.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the US are saving injured soldiers who would have died not long ago, and this has had a significant impact on their death rates (although the solders are often disabled for the rest of their lives). A similar effect might be in play here.

LSWCHP LSWCHP 11:09 pm 02 Jan 12

johnboy said :

Disagree, RAPID consistently targets the group statistically most likely to cause accidents, unregistered drivers.

+1 on that. I’ve been thinking about this, and I would lay money on RAPID being a contributing factor, apart from statistical variation in small samples, luck etc.

The unregistered/unlicenced/uninsured crew aren’t your typical law-abiding drivers. Because they are very dim they’re also likely to be drunk and speeding or doing something else that is stupid and likely to kill themselves or somebody else. Getting these tools off the road can’t be doing any harm.

And in this vein, I’ve been amazed at the number of fatalities over the last week of the “Driver of a lone vehicle ran off the road, hit a tree and was killed” variety.

Very Busy Very Busy 10:41 pm 02 Jan 12

dungfungus said :

I heard an emergency services official stating on ABC Radio a while ago that a high percentage of fatals were the result of drivers losing control while using mobiles. The penalties for using a mobile while driving are too lenient – there should be mandatory custodial sentences.

You may well be correct, but, regardless of the penalties, I cannot comprehend the lack of enforcement in relation to mobile phone use.

The police do a blitz and brag about catching 20 mobile phone users in a week. I would easily see that number myself in half a day. Now that is bloody pathetic. With all the strategies put in place to catch speeding motorists there is NO strategy to enforce the non use of mobile phones while driving.

deye deye 9:38 pm 02 Jan 12

welkin31 said :

The ABS has a neat little graphic of national figures;
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Road%20safety%20%284.9.2%29
If any finds the full history of downloadable stats in xls please post the URL
.

http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/road_fatality_statistics/fatal_road_crash_database.aspx

click the accept button at the bottom of the page, bring up the stats you want and then you can use the “save as” button at the top right to get an xls file

cranky cranky 8:22 pm 02 Jan 12

dungfungus said :

I heard an emergency services official stating on ABC Radio a while ago that a high percentage of fatals were the result of drivers losing control while using mobiles. The penalties for using a mobile while driving are too lenient – there should be mandatory custodial sentences.

I will agree that mobile phone useage whilst driving is a distraction. To claim that this constitutes a “high proportion” of fatals is an overstatement.

To the best of my recollection, half the fatalities on the ACT roads in 2011 were motorcyclists. I have had a motorcycle license for over 45 years. I consider them dangerous enough that I will not ride one again. Last rode about 40 years ago. Purely personal opinion and preference. And not conducive to mobile phone use whilst on the move.

They are cheap, they are fast, they are economical. They are also often ridden by the younger, less affluent general public. Risk takers, from a wide variety of origins. Peer pressure, alcohol and drugs all play a part in the conduct of these riders. Add in the incompetent, unseeing motorist, and the recipe for a major bugger up has been created.

I wish I had an answer to resolve these coming togethers. An answer would result in a greater decrease in the road toll than banning the use of mobile phone useage whilst driving.

dungfungus dungfungus 3:12 pm 02 Jan 12

Ian said :

I suggest that the biggest variable in the road toll is luck. Stupid people do stupid things all the time. Sometimes they have the good luck not to run into other cars and/or stationary objects. Sometimes they get unlucky and do run into things. The underlying stupidity is probably fairly constant.

Agree. A family member who is under 24 but has never had a traffic fine and is a very safe driver (taught by his granparents who warned him to always look out for the other idiot) got cleaned up by a young inerstate lady at an intersection who “didn’t see the red light” 2 weeks ago. If her car had hit him one metre closer to the passenger cabin he would have been killed. It was a matter of good luck alone. There was a big reduction in road fatalities when seat belts were introduced some 50 years ago and no doubt the modern motor vehicle is safer than its predecessor. I heard an emergency services official stating on ABC Radio a while ago that a high percentage of fatals were the result of drivers losing control while using mobiles. The penalties for using a mobile while driving are too lenient – there should be mandatory custodial sentences.

welkin31 welkin31 12:25 pm 02 Jan 12

The ABS has a neat little graphic of national figures;
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Road%20safety%20%284.9.2%29
If any finds the full history of downloadable stats in xls please post the URL
My pet hate – driving the Barton to Yass a lot in recent months – slow drivers that speed up to 105 when they get to overtaking lanes.
All the best for 2012.

JC JC 8:40 am 02 Jan 12

goggles13 said :

Sadly though, bad behaviour on NSW roads is not limited to blue and white plates. On Friday, I did a trip halfway to Syd and back, and the number of people dawdling in the right hand lane on the Federal and Hume Highways was stupid. Obviously they forget to use their rear vision mirrors, and also appear to lack any judgement of their own speed and that of others.

Too right with those that dawdle along in the right hand lane, when they could be in the left doing that. Saw one yesterday that I couldn’t work out, heading Canberra bound about 4:30pm on the Federal Highway just near the NSW/ACT border and overtook a car (ACT rego dark blue Mitsubishi lancer) doing about 90km/h in the left hand lane. However the moment we crossed into the ACT he moved to the right hand lane. He was not overtaking, and clearly the next right hand turn isn’t until some distance away so no idea what he was doing. He caught up to me at the first set of lights still sitting in the right hand lane and then followed me onto the Barton Highway.

Again on the Barton he stayed in the right hand lane this time doing about 70km/h despite the left being empty, except of course for a few cars that over took him on the left. I lost site of him just after where the the speed limit changes to 100km/h still driving in the RH lane.

JC JC 8:31 am 02 Jan 12

It is good this year had a low road toll, however it gets under my skin when people (especially those in power such as the Superintendent) try and correlate road toll, over a 1 year sample to driver behavior.

Bottom line is in a place with a population the size of Canberra, an arbitrary sample of a calendar year is not going to produce any meaningful data. I mean to say look at what happened, we had 6 deaths in 3 months and then none in the last 9. Was there a massive change of driver behavior since March, I think not. The only way that this can be explained is luck, or a statistical abnormality. Same is true in the years where there is a sudden jump.

If we want any meaningful information from road toll, we need to look at trends over a number of years, and that trend has been downwards, thanks to safer cars, better roads and policing.

The only

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