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Safety measures cut road toll

New report shows safety measures such as seat belts and breath testing have reduced fatalities by 40 percent

By Ruza Zivkusic | December 13, 2010

Less people are being killed on our roads today than in the 1960s, a report shows.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Effectiveness of measures to reduce fatality rates report has found that seatbelt wearing, random breath-testing and speed cameras have reduced the number of fatalities by 40 percent in the last 40 years.

The three major road safety programs of the past 40 years were measured, with the report finding that the fatality rate fell to 1 per 10. The number of road deaths per quarter would be 10 times the current value if the measures had not been put in place, the report says.

Seatbelt wearing has peaked to 90 percent in most states in the last five years.

“But if the absence of a downward trend has been due to negative trends in driver behaviour balancing improvements in roads and vehicles, that analysis might change,” the report has found.

“If it is assumed that negative trends like mobile phone usage are near some saturation point, then positive trends in road and vehicle safety may come through in the next decade unmasked.”

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