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Official national road toll figures points to sheer complacency by male road users.



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10 January 2001 B2/2001

OFFICIAL NATIONAL ROAD TOLL FIGURES POINTS TO SHEER COMPLACENCY BY MALE ROAD USERS

Unrestrained male drivers and passengers, and male motorcyclists have contributed to the worst official road fatality statistics since 1996.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Senator Ron Boswell, said over 400 fatalities, (about 20% of total fatalities), were unrestrained occupants that contributed to the nation’s total road fatalities of 1,817 for last year.

“Belt usage is critical in preventing a severe crash becoming fatal - these latest statistics demonstrates sheer complacency and disregard for road safety campaigns among drivers has set-in as a major contributor to Australia’s official road fatalities for the year 2000,” he said.

Official road fatalities for the year 2000 showed a 3 per cent increase (53 fatalities) from 1999 fatalities (1,764).

“The year 2000 recorded 1,817 fatalities on our nation’s roads - this is the highest figure we have seen since 1996 when 1,970 fatalities were recorded,” Senator Boswell said.

Senator Boswell was commenting official year figures to be released this week by the  Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Road Fatalities Australia December 2000 which provides an insight into who are the major contributors to fatality figures and in what state or territory.

“The significant road fatality increase has been attributed to all male road users - overall,

male road deaths increased by 76 (6.2%) (female road deaths decreased by 23), ●

male driver deaths increased by 27 (4.4%), ●

male passenger deaths increased by 34 (16.3%), ●

male motorcyclist deaths increased by 14 (8.5%), ●

male pedestrian deaths increased by 4 (2%) with female pedestrian deaths decreasing by 13,” Senator Boswell said. ●

“The increase in road toll fatalities lies in the increase of fatalities for motorcyclists (an 8.5 per cent increase this year to-date compared to last year), a 3.9 per cent increase in driver fatalities and a 4 per cent increase in passenger fatalities.

“It is alarming driver fatalities continues its rising trend and for this year has contributed significantly to the fatality increase in the states of NSW, Queensland and South Australia by 6.8 per cent, 22.7 per cent and 26.4 per cent respectively.

“There has been a marked increase in passenger deaths in Victoria (35.3 per cent), with a smaller increase in NSW (2.9 per cent).”

“Fortunately, we continue to see a downward trend in pedestrian fatalities, 3 per cent decrease across the nation for the year 2000 compared to the year 1999.”

The year 2000 official toll (percentage change on 1999 in brackets):  NSW 603 (4.5%), Vic 405 (5.5%), Qld 317 (1%), SA 166 (9.9%), WA 213 (-1.8%), Tas 43 (-18.9%), NT 52 (6.1%),   ACT 18 (-5.3%)

Official Christmas holiday period (22 December -5 January (change on 1999 holiday period):  NSW 39 (16 fatality increase), Vic 11 (-5), QLD 11 (-3), SA 5 (0), WA 6 (2), Tas 5 (3), NT 0 (-3), ACT 1 (-3).

Senator Boswell said driver fatigue and alcohol were among the major causes of road death.  “It is frustrating to know that these dangers can be avoided if drivers only took a few simple precautions,” he said.

“A major commitment is needed from all of the community if we are going to achieve safer national roads.

Senator Boswell stressed that government and police efforts to address driving behaviour can only be successful with the active involvement and guidance by young drivers’ peers and family.

“I urge all drivers still to return from their holidays for work and school to remain vigilant and wise - stop every two hours and avoid alcohol prior to your next journey.”

Media Contact: Senator Boswell's Office: (07) 3001 8150 / (0414) 426 614

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Thursday, 11 January 2001