Accidents: injuries and fatalities in Queensland


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Accidents: injuries and fatalities in Queensland

Despite a decrease in the rate of road fatalities since 2002, the health of Queenslander's continues to be impacted by accidents, particularly for those over 65.

There was a downward trend in accidental deaths in Queensland between 2002 and 2005, which included a strong reduction in road fatalities. However, an increase in transport and fall accidents after 2005 contributed to an overall increase in Queenslander's killed in accidents between 2002 and 2009i. And, disappointingly, the rate of fatal accidents was over 27 per 100,000 population in 2009, the highest it had been since 2004i.

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2011, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0/; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, 3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2011-12, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3218.0/

Injury and hospitalisation

In the 2010-2011 financial year there were 115,238 hospitalisations for injury in Queenslandii. According to the latest Health of Queenslanders report (2012), road traffic injury, falls, drowning and poisoning were major contributors to accident injury hospitalisationii. Over 65s are a particular "at risk" group for hospitalisation due to fallsii. The report also found that men are more likely to die or be injured in road traffic accidents than femalesii.

In 2011, pedestrians accounted for 33 road fatalities. Slowing down when necessary and driving at the speed limit can help reduce road traffic accidents.

In the 2009-2010 financial year Queensland had the second highest rate of accidental injuries in Australiaiii, following the Northern Territory. Furthermore, Queensland had an above average rate of hospitalisation for fall injuries (711 cases per 100,000 population, age standardised), with a rate that exceeded the national average (685.6)iv.

Road injuries

In 2011 there were 269 road fatalities in Queensland, a significant reduction from the 322 road deaths in 2002v. 108 drivers and 73 passengers made up most of the fatalities, while motorcyclists accounted for 45, pedestrians 33, and pedal cyclists 9v. The 269 road deaths can be attributed to 227 recorded crash incidents in 2011 (a decline from 283 crashes in 2002)vi. Of these fatal road accidents, 103 involved multiple vehicles, 91 were single-vehicle crashes and 33 involved pedestriansvi.

Queensland had the fourth highest rate of road fatalities (5.87 deaths per 100,000 population) in Australia in 2011, after the Northern Territory (19.12), Western Australia (7.67) and South Australia (6.22). Between 2002 and 2011, the average change in the rate of road fatalities in Queensland decreased by 4%, which was just below the nationwide decrease of 4.3%vii. Despite this, the average change in the actual number of road fatalities between 2002 and 2011 in Queensland was on a decrease of 1.7%, a poorer result that the national decline of 2.7% and significantly behind SA (-4.5%) and NSW (-4.3%)v.

The 2011 Fatal Road Traffic Crashes in Queensland report shows alcohol was the leading contributor to fatal road crashes in 2011, contributing to 33.1% of road fatalities that year. Speeding by drivers and motorcyclists contributed to 17.8% of fatalities in 2011viii. Of these 48 deaths 38% were passengersix. Fatigue and not wearing seatbelts contributed to 41 and 33 fatalities respectivelyx, xi.

Abiding by Occupational Health and Safety standards at work is important for avoiding injuries at the workplace.

Causes of injury and fatalities

In the 2010-2011 financial year, Queensland was the state with the highest number of workplace fatalities : there were 56 fatalities in total according to Safe Work Australiaxii.In Queensland, the four industry sectors with the highest fatality rates are: Transport, postal and warehousing; Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Construction; and Manufacturing. Between the 2003-2004 and 2010-2011 financial years there were 121 deaths in Transport, postal and warehousing, 125 in Agriculture, forestry and fishing, 90 in Construction and 32 in Manufacturingxiii.

Health system challenges

Along with chronic disease prevention, addressing injury is a major imperative for Queenslanders. In 2007, 12.4% of Queenslanders were over 65 years, and by 2021 that is expected to increase to 26.2%xiv. With the tendency for older Australian's to use health services both more frequently and for longer, there will likely be a significant impact on Queensland health services. 2005 figures already point to falls and the impact of falls as the leading injury-related cause of hospitalisation for those over 65, costing the health system in Queensland twice as much as road crashes. At the same time, accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in children up to four years of age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait children are three to four times more likely to be injured than other children, and the people in remote locations bear a disproportionate burden of injuryxiv.


i Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2011, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0/

ii Chief of Health Officer Queensland, 2012, The Health Of Queenslanders 2012, Queensland Government, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/cho_report/2012/documents/2012-cho-report-all.pdf, p.44

iii AIHW, 2012, Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning, Australia 2009-10, Flinders University, http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129542180, p.92

iv AIHW, 2012, Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning, Australia 2009-10, Flinders University, http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129542180, p.75

v BITRE, 2012, Road Deaths Australia 2011 Statistical Summary, Australian Government, http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2012/files/RDA_Summary_2011.pdf, p.2

vi BITRE, 2012, Road Deaths Australia 2011 Statistical Summary, Australian Government, http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2012/files/RDA_Summary_2011.pdf, p.25

vii BITRE, 2012, Road Deaths Australia 2011 Statistical Summary, Australian Government, http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2012/files/RDA_Summary_2011.pdf, p.19

viii Transport and main roads, 2012, 2011 Fatal road traffic crashes in Queensland, Queensland Government, http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/~/media/Safety/Transport%20and%20road%20statistics/Road%20safety/Fatal_road_traffic_crashes_in_qld_2011.pdf, p.49

ix Transport and main roads, 2012, 2011 Fatal road traffic crashes in Queensland, Queensland Government, http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/~/media/Safety/Transport%20and%20road%20statistics/Road%20safety/Fatal_road_traffic_crashes_in_qld_2011.pdf, p.54

x Transport and main roads, 2012, 2011 Fatal road traffic crashes in Queensland, Queensland Government, http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/~/media/Safety/Transport%20and%20road%20statistics/Road%20safety/Fatal_road_traffic_crashes_in_qld_2011.pdf, p.56

xi Transport and main roads, 2012, 2011 Fatal road traffic crashes in Queensland, Queensland Government, http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/~/media/Safety/Transport%20and%20road%20statistics/Road%20safety/Fatal_road_traffic_crashes_in_qld_2011.pdf, p.59

xii Safe Work Australia, 2012, Work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2010–11, http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/730/WorkRelatedTraumaticInjuryFatalities2010-11.pdf, p.11

xiii Safe Work Australia, 2012, Work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2010–11, http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/730/WorkRelatedTraumaticInjuryFatalities2010-11.pdf, p.13

xiv Chief Health Officer, 2009, Strategic Directions for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion 2009–2012, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/pdu/phstratdir_injury.pdf, p.1