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Discussion of road safety related trends influencing the Queensland 2010 road toll: the lowest since 1952
In 2010 Queensland experienced a sudden and significant reduction in road fatalities. While this result occurred despite the absence of any concomitant widespread policy intervention it did, however, occur in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. This paper describes a preliminary investigation of road safety related trends to understand both immediate and long term changes that culminated in the 2010 road toll. Accordingly, routinely collected data were extracted and visually examined by plotting percentage change trends over time. Effects of vehicle and road infrastructure improvements were also estimated. Results showed reductions in travel and general alcohol consumption as well as increases in unemployment that are likely to have affected the road toll. Differential fatality trends were seen across target/risk groups after accounting for exposure, with the greatest changes seen in the alcohol and speed related trends. Relative decreases were also seen for young driver/riders, particularly males, in both exposure and risk. Increasing trends were seen in enforcement activity, vehicle improvements and infrastructure spending. In the absence of statistical modelling “causal” links could not be determined. Nevertheless, results suggested that the 2010 road toll reduction was due in part, but not solely, to the Global Financial Crisis.