Centre for Road Safety

Roads busier, but safer

The number of road deaths per 100,000 population in NSW has dropped over the past five decades, from 28.9 in 1970 to 4.4 in 2019 (provisional figure), 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 2019, there were more than 5.6 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.