5 October, 2019

WA has the worst road fatality rate of any State. On average, one person is killed on our roads every two days. We take a look at the numbers and the why.

D espite modern cars being safer, mandatory seatbelt laws and stricter controls on driving under the influence, Western Australia still has the worst road safety performance of any State in the country.

In the past five years, more than 850 people have been killed on WA’s roads and another 7,500 left with serious injuries.

“If you look past the statistics, it means every two days, families, friends and communities received the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home," says RAC’s General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby.

We haven’t always been one of the worst performers for road fatalities. Back in the 1990’s, WA had one of the lowest road fatality rates in Australia. However, we’re now lagging well behind other states.

In 2018, our road fatality rate was 84 per cent higher than Victoria’s. Had we matched their rate, more than 70 people would still be alive today.

WA road fatality rate
Source: Road Deaths Australia, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, 2016.

In 2018, speeding was a factor in one third of fatal crashes in WA. According to the 2017 Report on Government Services, more than 65 per cent of WA drivers have admitted to driving at 10km an hour over the speed limit — the highest percentage in the country.

The same report found 10 per cent have driven over the legal alcohol limit, which is also higher than the national average.

Driver distraction is another a leading cause of road trauma. Last year, the number of people killed in inattention related crashes increased by 70 per cent on the previous five-year average.

A study by ANCAP found an over-representation of older vehicles in fatal crashes, with the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatality being 12.9 years old.

Older vehicles account for just 20 per cent of the national registered fleet of passenger vehicles but were involved in a third of fatal crashes. Newer cars, which account for 31 per cent of the national fleet, were involved in just 13 per cent of fatal crashes.

ANCAP also found you are twice as likely to be killed in a three star car, than in a five star car. Do you know what safety rating your car has?

An infographic showing how crashes affect old and new cars
Source: ANCAP


Get more facts, stats and stories about WA delivered to your inbox. Sign up to For the Better eNews.

We believe the only road toll that is acceptable is zero

We’re working to make that a reality. RAC advocates for all Western Australians through programs such as Risky Roads, Look Up and the Elephant in the Wheatbelt.

Road safety

Teaching our kids to be safe around the roads

We believe it is never too early to teach our children to be safe around the roads. To do that, we have two special (and free) RAC memberships. RAC Little Legends Club® encourages primary school age kids to learn about bicycle, pedestrian and passenger safety. For older kids, RAC Road Ready is aimed at getting teenagers ready to drive. We also run a great range of in-school road safety education programs.

Book a presentation