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More cars on the road…but fewer accidents

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2004–March 2005 (n=46,583) and April 2014–March 2015 (n=42,854).

Over the last decade the number of motorists on Australian roads has risen from 13.3 million to 15.9 million. Despite the increased volume of traffic, the proportion of motorists who have been involved in a vehicle accident while driving has fallen during this time, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show. The decline is consistent across most states.

As of March 2005, 20.8% of Australian motorists reported having at least one accident while driving in the previous five years. By March 2015, this figure had declined to 19.1% of motorists.

South Australia and Western Australia were the most improved states. Ten years ago, the proportion of SA motorists who’d had a vehicle accident in the prior five years was 21.1%. By 2015, it was 18.3%. Similarly, the accident rate in WA fell from 19.1% to 16.8%, making it the country’s safest state to be a driver.

Tasmania was the only state with a marked increase in the proportion of motorists who had at least one accident in the last five years: from 19% to 23.8%. Incidentally, Tasmania is also the state with the lowest rate of roadside assistance coverage in the country…

Vehicle accidents by state: 2005 vs 2015


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2004–March 2005 (n=46,583) and April 2014–March 2015 (n=42,854).

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director - Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The fact that fewer Australian motorists are having vehicle accidents while driving is good news for everyone. 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. 

“So what kind of motorist is most likely to be in a fender bender? A decade ago, male motorists (21.7%) were more likely than their female counterparts (19.9%) – but the reverse is now true. A slightly higher proportion of women (20.0%) 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%).

“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.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%