The New South Wales government introduced random breath testing (RBT) on December 17, 1982 and in the following year a 23 per cent reduction in road fatalities was recorded. Many road safety authorities claimed this reduction as evidence that RBT was a big success. However the introduction of RBT coincided closely with a serious deterioration in general economic activity in New South Wales. Since it had been noticed that there exists a significant correlation between changes in economic activity and the road toll, it was decided to investigate the effect of RBT on reducing road fatalities after allowance for the effect of the economy and other variables in a multivariate modelling context. But it was realised that the assertion that the state of the economy has a significant effect on the road toll is not generally accepted, and has apparently not been comprehensively argued in the literature. Therefore, before presenting the results of the multivariate analysis, the paper presents a theoretical argument, accompanied by a partial statistical analysis, justifying the use of macroeconomic variables such as gross domestic product in road safety policy investigations. In the multivariate modelling analysis the conclusion was reached that RBT had substantially contributed to the reduction of road fatalities in 1982-83, after allowance for the effect of the state of the economy and other relevant variables. About 42 per cent of the reduction in driver fatalities and 16 per cent of passenger fatalities in 1982-83 appears to have been associated with RBT. (Author/TRRL)

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was presented during the 12th Australian Road Research Board Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, 27-31 August 1984.
  • Corporate Authors:


    Melbourne, Victoria  Australia 
  • Authors:
    • THOMSON, J
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1984

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 72-79
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 12
    • Issue Number: 7

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00393395
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 30 1985 12:00AM