Roy Morgan Research: More drivers in Australia but car accidents down

With more motorists cruising Australian streets than ever before it would be expected that car accidents would also increase, however new research from Roy Morgan Research has shown that the number of motorists that have been in an accident has decreased in recent years.

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For instance, while in March 2005 20.8% of Australian motorists reported having at least one accident driving in the previous five years, fast forward to March 2015 and this figure has dropped to 19.1%, despite the number of motorists on Australian roads rising from 13.3 million to 15.9 million.

While the results from Roy Morgan Research indicate a significant reduction in the amount of car accidents across most states, South Australia (21.1% down to 18.3%) and Western Australia (19.1% down to 16.8%) saw the biggest improvement. This means WA is now the country’s safest state to be a driver.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director at Roy Morgan Research said that WA’s decline is especially encouraging, and “suggests that the WA Office of Road Safety is doing something right with its diverse campaigns targeted at everything from drink-driving and speeding to distracted driving.”

“As the number of motorists on Australian roads continues to climb, it is crucial that government authorities keep campaigning to raise awareness about road safety and ensure that drivers who endanger others are penalised appropriately.”

While the majority of states saw less car accidents, in Tasmania the number of motorists who had at least one accident in the past 5 years increased from 19% to 23.8%. Roy Morgan Research said incidentally, Tasmania is also the state with the lowest rate of roadside assistance coverage in the country.

Roy Morgan Research also compared the difference in car accidents by gender and while the stereotype is for male drivers to get into more accidents than their female counterparts, Pakes said the research showed the reverse was true, as a slightly higher proportion of women at 20% now report having had an accident in the previous five years, compared with 18.2% of men.

“Of course, a driver’s age and relative experience behind the wheel plays a part. Almost a quarter of young female motorists aged under 25 have had an accident in the last five years (compared to one in five men of the same age) — but the most accident-prone age group is men aged 25-34 (26.5%),” said Pakes.