Tony O'Kane | Sep 15, 2009

ROAD CRASH STATISTICS released by the Australian Government show the national road toll is on the rise, with 57 more people dying on our roads so far this year compared to the same period in 2008.

A total of 967 people were killed in Australian road accidents between the start of January and the end of August last year. This year, 1024 have perished over the same period.

After a steady decline in road fatalities over the past decade, 2009 is shaping up to be the first year in which overall road deaths have actually increased.

NSW suffered the most fatalities last month, recording 46 deaths. It was also the only state to undergo a significant increase in outright fatalities, having recorded 37 road deaths in August last year.

Queensland was a distant second with 23 fatalities, and Victoria third with 21.

Year to date, NSW still has the highest road toll at 309 killed, followed by Queensland with 236.

The statistics also show a shift in gender representation in car crashes. Around 6.7 percent more female drivers have been killed in vehicle accidents over the past 12 months, and the number of killed male drivers is down 8.2 percent.

Other road users have also suffered. Pedestrian fatalities have risen 14 percent over the past 12 months, and 11 more cyclists were killed between September 2008 and August 2009 compared to the same period a year before.

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