Mike Stevens | Jan 4, 2011

With New South Wales police pointing to its Operation Safe Arrival campaign as a contributing factor, New South Wales has seen a significant drop in fatalities through 2010.

Closing out the year with with 379 fatal crashes and 419 related deaths, the NSW road toll has improved improved by 28 fatal crashes and 32 deaths, compared to 2009.

Despite the improvement, NSW police have acknowledged that the 2010 toll was still well above the state's record low of 374 in 2008.

Between Christmas Eve and January 1, there were three fatalities - compared to 10 in 2009.

Through Operation Safe Arrival, NSW police carried out 33,869 breath tests, issuing a relatively low 25 drink-driving charges. From 35,354 tests in the same period last year, police issued 102 drink-driving infringements.

Showing improvement elsewhere, Police also nabbed 842 speeding motorists on Christmas Eve, compared to 959 for the same period in 2009.

The 2010 road toll across Australia has seen improvements and increases both. Queensland registered 247 fatalities for 2010, down from 331 in 2009.

"It's a great result and shows what can be achieved," Queensland Police Minister Robert Atkinson said.

"They're not just statistics; every one of them, there's a person there, a family, a life. There's only so much that can be done through enforcement. The better way is if people just changed their behaviour because of their own choosing."

Western Australia saw 192 road fatalities in 2010 - with a shocking 22 percent not wearing a seatbelt.

Victoria saw an improvement in 2010, with the state's 288 deaths dropping from 290 in 2009. Victoria's toll has dropped every year in the past five years, with 346 in 2005, 336 in 2006, 332 in 2007, and 303 in 2008.

South Australia saw 118 fatalities in 2010, down from 119 in 2009, but up from 99 in 2008.

Year-end figures for Tasmania have yet to be published. As of December 23, there had been 31 deaths on Tasmanian roads in 2010.

Across Australia, the 2011 road toll has started with a fatality in Queensland on Sunday and two in Victoria. Three have died in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and Tasmania has seen one road fatality so far this year. The toll stands at zero for South Australia and the ACT.

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