(Australian Associated Press)
Hundreds of lives continue to be lost on Australia’s roads but two states posted record low tolls in 2018 as deaths dipped across the country.
In Victoria, road deaths dropped significantly to 214, 45 fewer than in 2017 and down 29 from the previous record low of 243 in 2013.
In South Australia, the toll fell to just 80, down from 100 in 2017 and six fewer than the previous record low of 86 in 2016.
Road deaths fell from 34 to 33 in Tasmania and a slight dip was also expected in Western Australia, based on preliminary figures.
Queensland posted its third lowest toll with 246 lives lost but down just one from the previous year.
NSW will post its 2018 results later this week while figures published so far show 50 people died in the Northern Territory and nine in the ACT.
Victoria’s Head of Road Policing Operations Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said the record low was encouraging but there were still too many fatalities on the state’s roads.
“The fact that there were fewer lives lost in 2018 will be of no comfort to those who are mourning someone who was precious to them,” Supt Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday.
“One life lost is one too many,”
South Australian assistant police commissioner Paul Dickson said there was no “silver bullet” to cutting road deaths, attributing the fall in SA to a range of strategies put in place by police and other agencies.
And despite the record result, he maintained there was no room for complacency.
“I don’t think we can ever say we’re all safe on the roads because unfortunately, people make bad decisions,” he said.
“And whenever someone makes a bad decision there’s a high risk that we’ll either have a fatality or a serious injury.”
The good results across 2018 have also been marred by a spike in road deaths over the holiday period in at least three states.
Nine people have died in Queensland and five each in South Australia and Tasmania.
Road deaths in Australia in 2018 (2017 figures):
Queensland 246 (247)
Victoria 214 (259)
WA (to Dec 30) 158 (161)
SA 80 (100)
Tasmania 33 (34)
* NSW figures still to be released