Centre for Road Safety

Roads busier, but safer

The number of road deaths per 100,000 population in NSW has dropped over the past four-and-a-half decades, from 28.9 in 1970 to 4.99 in 2017, with a low of 4.1 in 2014.

Continued government investment and key road safety interventions, such as the compulsory use of seatbelts and the introduction of random breath testing, have had a significant impact on reducing the fatality rate – at the same time as NSW roads have become much busier. In 2017, there were more than 6 million registered motor vehicles in NSW, up from about 4000 motor vehicles in 1910.

More data

Data sources

Fatality rate data sourced from Dr JW Knott - Road traffic accidents in New South Wales, 1881-1991. Australian Economic History Review 1994; 34: 80-116; and NSW Transport authorities.