Tony O'Kane | May 15, 2009

The final tally is in, and for the year of 2008 a total of 1464 people died on Australian roads.

Given the lives lost and the countless others that have been profoundly affected by the loss of their loved ones, it's certainly not a figure to be proud of. The community can take some comfort however in the knowledge that it represents an 8.7 percent drop over the road toll from the previous year.

Recent figures detailing trends over the past five years show South Australia experienced the greatest drop during the period, with the state's road fatalities dropping by 7.9 percent.

NSW was second with a 5.6 percent decrease, while Tasmania and Victoria's tolls were cut by 2.3 and 1.6 percent respectively. Unfortunately Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory all recorded higher fatality rates during the past half decade.

The Northern Territory in particular was the worst, with 75 peoply dying on the territory's roads. That equates to 34 road fatalities per 100,000 people - a great deal more than the national average of 6.85 deaths per 100,000 people.

Victoria recorded its best year on record, with 304 people losing their lives in road accidents last year. Of course "best" is a relative term: 304 deaths is 304 too many.

Will the numbers continue to drop though? At this stage, it appears not. For the year to date, all of the previous months bar March have seen an increase in road deaths, with April's figures showing there were 151 killed on our roads last month - a 36 percent rise over the same period in 2008.

Stay safe out there folks.

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