Road deaths down 1.6pc over the decade, despite 2021 jump

There were 1,123 deaths on Australian roads in 2021, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2020, new annual road crash statistics show.

Over the decade, however, the number of fatalities declined 1.6 percent from about 1,300 per year to 1,100 per year, the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) said last month.

In its 2021 statistical summary on Australian road trauma, BITRE said the rate of annual fatalities per 100,000 population declined 23.7 percent over the decade.

While road deaths fell between 2012 and 2018 (the latest statistics show), hospitalised injuries rose 16.2 percent. A quarter of people hospitalised after car accidents had “high threat to life” (HTTL) injuries.

Over the decade from 2012-21, around two-thirds of road deaths occurred in regional and remote areas, and one-third were in major city areas.

The BIRTE report also contains statistical progress reports on the National Road Safety Strategy developed by the Office of Road Safety in collaboration with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), state and territory road and transport agencies, and other stakeholders.

On the “Safe People – irresponsible road use” measure, the report showed the number of drivers and riders killed who had an illegal drug in their system rose 68.4 percent. The number of deaths from crashes involving drivers and riders with illegal drugs in their system rose by 87.4 percent.

Conversely, the number of drivers and motorcycle riders killed with over-the-legal-limit blood alcohol counts fell by 38 percent.