The real cost of crashes and deaths on NSW roads

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Be it as a passenger or driver, you've likely seen close calls on the road or experienced them yourself. But have you ever wondered how many road crashes occur each year? 

In a bid to understand the trends in fatal road accidents, we analysed the number of lives lost and casualties on NSW roads, as well as quantified the cost by region and main arterial road.

Here, we provide a snapshot of our findings taken from the NRMA Cost of Crashes report.

The loss of life due to road crashes in NSW is on the increase since 2015

Over the past decade there has been a steady decline in the number of lives lost on NSW roads. However, 2015 and 2016 has seen an upward trend.

During 2011-2015, 1,723 lives were lost and 129,320 people were injured on NSW roads. While the number of fatalities decreased 20.3 per cent over the period 2006-10 to 2011-15, the number of total serious injuries increased 4.6 per cent to 61,130.

During 2011-2015, 1,723 lives were lost and 129,320 people were injured on NSW roads. 

Source: NRMA Cost of Crashes report

Regional NSW has a higher proportion of road fatalities than metro NSW

Fatalities in regional NSW represent a disproportionate share of the NSW road toll, while serious, moderate, and minor injuries represent are larger proportion of casualties in the Sydney region. 

In 2011-15, 67.1 per cent of fatalities occurred in regional NSW. By comparison, 55 per cent of serious injuries in 2011-15 occurred in the Sydney region.

Total cost of road trauma has decreased

During 2011-15, the cost of trauma on NSW roads totalled $35.7 billion. While the total cost of road trauma decreased 8.2 percent when compared to 2006-10, the total cost of serious injuries increased by 4.0 per cent to $17.8 billion in 2011-15.

Lives lost

For the period 2011-15, there was a 20.3 per cent decrease in the number of lives lost across NSW roads when compared to 2006-10. This means the total cost of fatalities declined from $15.57 billion in 2006-10 to $12.43 billion during 2011-15. 

The average cost of a life lost on a NSW road for the period 2011-2015 was $7.21 million.

Serious injuries

Over the 10 year period from 2006 to 2015, there were 119,563 people seriously injured on NSW roads. For the period 2011-2015 there was a five per cent increase in the number of serious injuries (matched) to 33,560 from 31,971. This cost to the community is $9.71 billion compared to $9.35 billion for the period 2006 to 2010.

The average cost of someone being seriously injured on a NSW road for the period 2011-15 was $289,417.

What are the biggest problem regions in NSW?

Taking population density into account, the biggest increase in fatalities and injuries occurred in the Illawarra and Hunter regions of NSW. 

There was a massive increase in the number of lives lost on the Oxley Highway in particular, from 11 to 25 in 2006-2010 and 2011-2015 respectively. To put it in perspective, that’s up by a whopping 127.3%.

The Cost of Crashes report
Keeping Australians safe on our roads is a key part of why the NRMA exists. Safe mobility is a core of focus of the NRMA, incorporated into every aspect of our business.

There will never be an acceptable number of lives lost on our roads and industry, government and the community need to work together to continue to reduce the NSW road toll. The NRMA supports the NSW Government’s target to reduce annual road deaths and serious injuries by at least 30 per cent by 2021, and will continue to shoulder some of this responsibility, championing safer vehicles, road upgrades and education campaigns to ensure all road users arrive safely at their destination.

Discover more in depth insights into the cost of crashes in NSW, including the cost of casualties to the Sydney region and Regional NSW, and the cost of casualties by NSW highways in the Cost of Crashes report.

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