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Motor vehicle theft and road crashes in New South Wales 1999/00 – 2006/07.

Ziersch, E N, Hedayati, H (Peer reviewed)

General

ACRS conference 2008

The link between motor vehicle theft and crashes on Australian roads has not been examined in great detail previously. This study was the second in a series and matched New South Wales road crash data with vehicle theft data, to identify crashes involving vehicles reported stolen at the time of the incident.

In 2006/07 there were 560 crashes involving vehicle theft, accounting for 1.2% of all road crashes. During the same period, six fatalities and 146 injuries were linked to crashes involving a stolen vehicle. An estimate of the cost of crashes involving vehicle theft was $43.6 million or an average cost of $53,600 per crash (based on 2003 data).

Speed was considered to be a factor in 38% of crashes where the stolen vehicle controller was considered to have played the major role in the crash, which was more than double the proportion found in crashes not involving vehicle theft (16%). Furthermore, three quarters of the vehicles stolen were manufactured prior to 2000. A lack of security features in these vehicles was evident with nearly three-fifths of the stolen passenger/light commercial vehicles not having any form of immobilisation.

Findings revealed in this study may help in development of effective strategies to reduce the impact of motor vehicle theft and improve safety on our roads.