The July 2020 ‘Road Trauma Australia Statistical Survey‘ posted on the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) website states that there were 1,195 road crash deaths in Australia in 2019.
As of the end of October 2020, there have been 1,118 deaths recorded due to car accidents in Australia. Of this number, 559 were drivers, 187 were passengers, 138 were pedestrians, 185 were motorcyclists, and 46 were pedal cyclists. In Western Australia, there are currently 145 road accident deaths already on record.
To avoid becoming a statistic and make the roads safe for everyone, read on to understand the top six causes of road accidents in Australia.
1. Speeding Accidents
Speeding is the number 1 cause of fatal road accidents in Australia.
Every time you try to beat a red light, overtake a car going the speed limit or attempting to get ahead when merging on the freeway, you’re likely to be speeding. Whenever you are driving over the speed limit, there are certain risks you face as the driver:
- You can lose control of the vehicle.
- You reduce your capacity to brake within a safe distance behind another vehicle.
- You increase the distance necessary to stop your vehicle safely.
- You decrease the reaction time you need to adjust to sudden changes on the road.
- You expose yourself and your passengers to undue road accident risks and possibly severe damage and injuries.
2. Road Accidents from Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol is another major cause of fatal road accidents in Australia.
Alcohol affects your ability to control movement, dulls your reflexes, and interferes with proper eye coordination that can lead to miscalculations and reckless driving. Insisting on driving after ingesting alcohol not only puts your passengers at risk but also other drivers, pedestrians, and property.
In Western Australia, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% is the general limit. However, certain drivers in WA adhere to a 0.00% BAC limit.
The 0.00% BAC limit applies to drivers who should not have any alcohol at all while driving, such as probationary or new drivers, drivers transporting dangerous goods, and alcohol offenders.
3. Failing to Give Way on Perth Roads
As published in The West Australian and based on the annual AAMI Crash Index, Perth’s most notorious crash site is the Great Eastern Highway in Midland, where 37% of drivers crash for failing to give way.
Failing to give way is a traffic offence that stems from not observing common road courtesy:
- At intersections when traffic lights are not working, or there is no stop sign or give way sign
- When pedestrians are rushing to cross even as the traffic lights are flashing yellow
- When there is a clear give way sign
- When you are changing lanes
- Giving way to other vehicles or pedestrians requires very little; just some patience, really. But by not practising basic road courtesy, you can endanger your life and that of other people.
4. Fatigue and Drowsiness Causing Accidents
When you’re tired but drive anyway, the effect is similar to that of driving while under the influence of alcohol, so your reaction time and awareness of road hazards and traffic signs are reduced significantly.
If you miss more than 20 hours of sleep and then drive, you’ll be driving like someone with a BAC of 0.08%, so you have a higher likelihood of getting involved in a car crash.
People who continually miss sleep sometimes experience microsleep episodes – those brief, involuntary periods of inattention while driving. You can experience microsleep in a span of 4 or 5 seconds, and if these happen at highway speed and you crash, your vehicle can travel the length of an entire football field.
5. Distracted Driving Can Cause A Car Accident
The improper use of mobile phones is a major cause of distracted driving.
When you are busy texting, talking, or looking at your mobile phone, your attention shifts from the road and everything else that’s going on around you. When you’re distracted, you’re likely to ignore stop signs and other traffic signs, so you risk colliding with another vehicle, an object on the road or a pedestrian.
Other causes of distraction include eating, arguing, or conversing with a passenger and minding kids or pets in the back seat while driving.
6. Car Accidents from Vehicle Defects
Problems with the vehicle can also add to the risks of driving. Defective brakes, a faulty ignition switch, or wheel alignment issues can individually contribute to a fatal car accident or road crash.
If your vehicle is due for servicing or repair, these are things you need to stay on top of to ensure your ride is safe.
Road Safety Measures to Avoid Car Accidents
To avoid car accidents and become a better driver, it pays to take a defensive driving course at Eclipse Driving School. Here, you’ll learn the correct driving procedures, traffic rules, and what to do during a car crash, accident or emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been involved in an accident, first ensure your safety and the safety of everyone else involved in the accident. Call an ambulance if anyone involved has been injured.
For an insurance claim, you will need to write down the driver’s licence number and licence plate belonging to the other driver. Then, take images of the damage caused on both vehicles.
Only continue to drive your car if it has just sustained minor damage to the exterior. Otherwise, call a towing service to collect your vehicle.