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Territory bucks national trend

More people are dying on Northern Territory roads despite an improvement in the rate of national fatalities

By Brad Gardner

More people are dying on Northern Territory roads despite an improvement in the rate of national fatalities.

Road deaths in the Territory jumped 29.3 percent in 2008, with the total rising from 58 deaths to 75, according to the December road fatalities bulletin.

Fatal crashes also rose 42.6 percent over the same period, leading to a 9.2 percent increase in road deaths over a five-year period.

Fatalities in Western Australia and the ACT have also increased the last five years despite the total number of deaths nationwide falling fell 8.7 percent compared to 2007.

The figure fell 15.2 percent in December alone when compared with the same time last year.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese welcomed the figures, but says more needs to be done to increase safety.

“These figures reflect a range of factors, including the proactive road safety initiatives pursued by all governments over recent years, the efforts of law enforcement authorities and the greater care being taken by motorists when behind the wheel,” Albanese says.

“However, one year’s figures should not make anyone feel complacent.”

Victoria recorded the biggest fall in December, with a 39 percent reduction in fatalities from 41 in 2007 to 25 in 2008.

NSW fatalities also fell by almost 3 percent, while total deaths in 2008 dropped 9.2 percent when compared to 2007.

South Australia recorded the greatest annual decline in deaths, with the figure dropping more than 20 percent.

Albanese says investing in the Black Spots Program, heavy vehicle rest areas and driver training initiatives will help reduce the road toll.

“The challenge for governments and the broader community is to build on the 2008 results to achieve the target set out in the National Road Safety Strategy,” Albanese says.

The strategy is a governmental agreement to cut the death rate to 5.6 percent fatalities per 100,000 people by 2010, which Albanese says is possible.

“If the 2008 reduction can be repeated this year and next, that target will be achieved and an additional 370 lives saved by the end of 2010,” he says.

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