Preliminary Investigation of Increases in the 1995 Road Toll in Victoria

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #91 - 1996

Authors: K. Diamantopoulou & M. Cameron

Full report in .pdf format [890KB]

Executive Summary

There has been an 11% increase in road fatalities in Victoria during 1995 from the previous year. This increase has been driven by rises in the number of pedestrian fatalities in Melbourne, and rises in the number of drivers and pedestrians killed in rural Victoria. The largest increases have occurred for:

  • pedestrians killed in Melbourne with BAC > 0.15g/100ml;
  • Melbourne pedestrian fatalities aged 40-59;
  • drivers killed in rural Victoria with BAC > 0.15g/100ml;
  • driver fatalities aged 30-39 in rural Victoria.

Suggested explanations for these increases may lie with the reduced random breath testing in rural Victoria during 1995, and reductions in unemployment rates in both Melbourne and rural Victoria during 1995.

There are also indications from the lodgement of TAC claims of an 8% increase in the overall number of pedestrian claims lodged in 1995 compared to the previous year. In addition, TAC fatal pedestrian claims rose by 34% since 1994, with TAC pedestrian hospitalised claims and pedestrian minor claims being 6% and 7% higher than the 1994 totals, respectively.

Further, the number of Police-reported serious injuries decreased during 1991-94, but in 1995, the number rose by 3% on the 1994 frequency. This increase together with the increase in TAC pedestrian hospitalised claims, warrants further analysis of Police-reported casualty crashes in 1995 to determine if the increase in fatalities has also occurred for serious and other injury crashes (particularly casualty crashes involving pedestrians in Melbourne and drivers in rural Victoria).

The increases found for pedestrian fatalities and rural driver fatalities may be due to chance because of the relatively small frequencies involved. However, the corresponding increase in TAC pedestrian claims tends to indicate that at least some of the increase is a real trend rather than a statistical fluctuation. By analysing serious casualty crashes (crashes involving a fatality or serious injury) for pedestrians in Melbourne and drivers in rural Victoria, the numbers and therefore the statistical reliability of the findings will be increased. This will lead to more definitive conclusions regarding factors which have contributed to the increase in the 1995 road toll from the previous year.

Sponsoring Organisation: Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd, VicRoads