Overall downward trend in South Australian road casualties despite deaths spike in 2014

The grey line shows the major drop in serious casualties from South Australian road accidents from 1995 to 2016.
Graph courtesy of South Australian government department of planning, transport and infrastructure (DPTI).

South Australia recorded the highest rate of road deaths of the mainland Australian states in 2014. Among the 108 killed, 13 drivers/riders had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

But the South Australian government department planning, transport and infrastructure (DPTI) figures since 2004 show a dramatic drop in serious injuries and crashes. In 2004, serious vehicle crashes in South Australia were at around 1600. Since then, the fall has been dramatic to around 600 from 2012.

Going back to 1995, all vehicle road crashes fell by more than half from 39,290 to 16,775 in 2016. Road crash deaths in 1995 were 182, compared to 80 in 2018. The DPTI breakdown on those 80 deaths showed a disproportionately high number – 56 – were from rural and regional areas.

Other elements of the 80 deaths  in 2018 were:
fatality rate per 100,000 of population 4.6,
car drivers 39,
heavy vehicle drivers 2,
vehicle passengers 16,
motorcyclists 10,
cyclists 7,
pedestrians (including gopher and wheelchair users) 6,
older road users (70+) 15,
young road users (16-24) 17,
deaths in the greater Adelaide region 24,
drivers and passengers killed not wearing a seatbelt 16%,
speed as a contributing factor in fatal crashes 20%,
drivers/riders killed with an illegal blood-alcohol content 18%,
drivers/riders killed testing positive to drugs 24%.

Serious injuries also went down from 622 in 2017 to 586 in 2018 – the lowest recorded total in a year and 18% lower than previous five years average. Yet the first months of 2019 saw an above-average spike in road deaths.  Despite overall downward trends, the financial cost of road fatalities and injuries is about $1 billion each year for the South Australian community.

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