Almost 1100 people were killed on Australia’s roads in 2020, reports AAP.
The preliminary figure is only slightly less than the previous year, despite much of the country being in Covid-19 lockdown for consecutive months of 2020.
Lives were lost in every state and territory with New South Wales leading the toll with 296 fatalities up to December 30. Queensland was just behind, with 265 deaths in the period up to December 20 and Victoria recorded 212 deaths up to December 30.
The NSW figure of 296 fatalities for the calendar year to date was down from 351 deaths at the same time the previous year. Most of those killed in NSW were drivers and were male. The 26-39-year-old age group made up most of the deaths.
In the period up to December 20 in Queensland, there were 265 fatalities from 239 crashes in 2020. Most were drivers.
According to the state’s Transport and Main Roads, this year’s 265 deaths are up 21 per cent or 46 more fatalities than the same period in 2019 and up 12.7 per cent on the previous five-year average for the same period.
This is despite the Covid-19 lockdown keeping motorists off the road for great chunks of the year. Queensland’s preliminary figures show 20 per cent of the fatalities involved speeding and 20 per cent involved drink drivers or riders.
Victoria was one of the states where the road toll this year fell when compared to the previous year. According to the Transport Accident Commission, 212 lives were lost in the calendar year to midnight December 30. This is down 20 per cent from the 265 deaths in the same period last year.
Victoria has had the harshest pandemic lockdown of all states and this may account for the drop in road deaths. The majority of those killed on Victorian roads were males and most were drivers.
In the year to December 23, there were 154 lives lost in Western Australia, compared to 161 in 2019. In the same period in Northern Territory, 32 have been killed on the roads compared to 35 last year.
The Australian Capital Territory has recorded seven deaths and to November there were 37 deaths in Tasmania, which is up on the previous year. In South Australia, in the period to December 30, the number of road deaths was 96, down from 114 the previous year.
The Australian national road toll for 2019 was 1188. Final road toll figures for 2020 are expected to be released in January.