Car Accident Statistics in Australia
Written by Matilda Douglas-Henry
When driving is your main mode of transport, it’s essential to feel as safe as possible behind the wheel, and to know how to keep you and your vehicle out of harm’s way. In this article we will break down all the necessary information about car accident statistics in Australia, including:
- Causes of car accidents in Australia
- Most common types of car accidents in Australia
- Preventative measures
In 2020, Australia has had an average of 43 road deaths per 1 million residents, and those numbers have been decreasing since 1970. Nevertheless, the death toll remains high on an international scale, and injuries—in some cases extremely high-risk ones—are steadily on the up, and have been consistently so for the past 19 years.
Of course, not all car accidents have such severe outcomes, but as Australians drive approximately 15,500km per year—and with 19.8 million motor vehicles registered in Australia as at January 2020—it’s important to be prepared; especially when the estimated cost of car accidents in Australia is a whopping $27 billion per year. That’s where we come in: DingGo is here to keep you informed and help you get the best bang for your buck.
What causes car accidents in Australia?
Unsurprisingly, speeding is the main cause of fatal car accidents in Australia. Speeding explicitly influences approximately 30% of all road accidents, and zones of 100km/hour or over are the location of 45% of all fatal crashes.
Alcohol consumption follows close behind, and Australia has one of the highest rates of drink driving-related accidents in the world. Even with greater access to information, like national ad campaigns, and an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in place for more than 25 years, 30% of all road accidents that result in a fatality are caused by a driver who is over the 0.05 limit.
Another contributing factor is driver fatigue. The Transport Accident Commission in Victoria approximates that 20% of all fatal road crashes involve a fatigued driver, and data from Queensland suggests that 20-30% of all severe road deaths and injuries include fatigue as a major component.
Then there is distraction while driving. Being distracted behind the wheel can vary from getting lost in your own thoughts or thinking you can get away with sending that one text, although the two biggest distractions are even more insidious: other passengers and fiddling with the sound system.
What are the most common types of car accidents in Australia?
Apart from Perth and Hobart, nose-to-tail collisions are the most common type of accident in all major cities in Australia*. This certainly checks out when you consider the massive car congestion that has started to dominate the likes of Sydney and Melbourne both within and outside of traditional rush-hour windows.
In non-metropolitan areas the numbers start to look a little different: in rural New South Wales, for example, the majority of moderate or minor car accidents are off-path or out of control accidents on curved roads.
Even if you’re constantly on the road, there are a number of precautions and considerations you can take to ensure that you and your car are keeping safe.
1. Do not look at your phone
It might seem like an obvious one, but it’s always worth repeating, especially as smartphones become more and more advanced. Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, aimlessly scrolling an app can have fatal consequences.
Most phones have “do not disturb while driving” functions these days. If you’re using a navigation system, ensure that it’s ready to go before you are.
2. If possible, avoid regional roads at night
Bad car accidents happen more often on regional roads than metropolitan ones*. Even though cities have bigger populations and greater traffic density, the liberty of the open country road, as well as poorer conditions, results overall in accidents with graver consequences.
The most dangerous time to drive is Friday evening—it’s when the most fatal car accidents occur—for obvious reasons (alcohol abuse/driver fatigue). This can’t be helped in many cases, but always make sure that you are under the limit, and that you’re driving with caution.
The safest time to drive, on the other hand? Tuesday mornings, between 3am and 9am. And although rural roads may be more dangerous, it’s not an excuse to become lenient with city streets. Australia’s most dangerous road is in fact Plenty Road in Bundoora, not that far from Melbourne’s inner city.
3. Don’t let your guard down in low-speed zones
Many drivers feel more at ease in areas that are signposted at 50km/h, which makes them ripe territory for accidents; in fact 12% of fatal accidents occur in these zones, and 60km/h zones are approximately twice as dangerous as 50km/h ones.
That means that low-speed zones are actually significantly more dangerous than high-speed zones. In a 60km/h zone, your chances are twice as high to be in a fatal accident than you are in a 110km/h zone or over.
These statistics can give you some insight into the reality of driving in Australia. For so many Australians, driving is muscle memory: an intuitive habit, which makes it so much easier to shrug off the rules and let one’s guard down. Every time you get behind the wheel it’s important to be as aware of the risks as possible, to yourself and others.
But at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do. You can be as careful a driver as humanly possible and someone else on the road might be speeding or not paying attention.
With DingGo, you can let go of the anxieties of getting into a scrape with your car. Find out more about the services we provide here.