Road Fatalities and Serious Injuries

This visualisation shows the number of road fatalities and serious injuries in NSW involving a light or heavy truck.

A Strategic Target of the Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 is to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from crashes involving a heavy or light truck by 30% by 2021 (based on a three year average 2008 to 2010 baseline levels).

This will support the Towards Zero Vision of Future Transport 2056 which aims to have a NSW transport network with zero trauma by 2056.

More detail

The Towards Zero approach has three principles: people are human and sometimes make mistakes – a simple mistake shouldn’t cost anyone their life; roads, roadsides and vehicles need to be designed to minimise crashes or reduce forces if a crash happens; and, road safety is a shared responsibility – everyone needs to make safe decisions on and around the road to prioritise safety. That is why crash data does not capture fault for each crash.

Key vehicle status can be used as a proxy for fault and is assigned to the vehicle whose road user movements’ lead to a crash occurring - for example where a vehicle turning right collides with an oncoming vehicle the key vehicle status is assigned to the turning vehicle.
A significant number of casualty crashes involving light and heavy trucks are single vehicle crashes. Key vehicle status in vehicle pedestrian and single vehicle crashes are assigned to the only vehicle involved. 

For multi-vehicle crashes the key vehicle status is different. In fatal multi-vehicle crashes involving a heavy vehicle the key vehicle is in a minority of cases, 26 per cent, a heavy truck. In casualty crashes heavy vehicles are the key vehicle in 56 per cent of the crashes. These figures are for the five year period 2013 to 2017.

The disparity in the percentages of heavy vehicles deemed to be the key vehicle is explained by the differing nature of fatal and casualty crashes. Fatal crashes are more likely to involve head on crashes, generally where another vehicle has crossed the road and collided with the heavy vehicle. In contrast, casualty crashes involving a heavy vehicle are more likely to occur at intersections, involve turning side swipe, lane side swipe crashes and rear end crashes – all of these crashes have a tendency for the heavy vehicle to be deemed the key vehicle.

About the data

Dataset name: Fatalities and Serious Injuries
Data owner: Centres for Road and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW 
Coverage: Road users across the NSW road network, local councils and private road owners and operators
Date range: December 2010 onwards 
Frequency: Fatalities - monthly, Serious injuries - quarterly

DescriptionThis visualisation shows the statistics relating to fatalities and serious injuries from crashes involving a heavy and light truck, including the monthly total and rolling 12 month total. The orange line indicates the reduction target.

  • Light trucks include panel vans (not based on car design), utilities (not based on car design), mobile vending vehicles and rigid trucks with a tare weight under 4.5 tonnes
  • Heavy trucks include any heavy rigid truck or articulated truck where: 
    • Heavy rigid truck is any rigid lorry or rigid tanker with a tare weight in excess of 4.5 tonnes
    • Articulated truck is any articulated tanker, semi-trailer, low loader, road train or B-double
  • Road Traffic Crash refers to a crash that was reported to the NSW Police, which occurred on a road open to the public and involved at least one moving road vehicle and at least one fatality or injury
  • Fatality is defined as a person who dies within 30 days from injuries received in a road traffic crash
  • Serious Injury is defined as a person who is identified as a controller or an injury in a police crash report and is admitted to hospital (as defined by a hospital admission record and/or a LifeTime Care claim) and matched to a police crash report, and who does not die within 30 days of the crash
  • Light trucks include utes, which may be driven by tradespeople etc not specifically for freight purposes and mobile vending vehicles
  • Modelling for a realistic target needs to take account of growth in truck numbers arising from economic growth which may be difficult
  • The nature of the freight task may change over time impacting on the number and type of road freight movements

The above visualisation does not include the following: 

  • Fatalities and serious injuries from crashes not reported to the Police
  • Serious injuries from a police crash report which does not match hospital admission records or LifeTime Care claims
  • Fatalities and serious injuries which occur on a road not open to the public or on private property (this includes crashes which may have occurred in freight depots, private property, restricted access roads etc)


  • The light truck and heavy truck statistics are not mutually exclusive and should not be added together. Fatalities and/or serious injuries from a crash involving a light truck and a heavy truck will be counted in the light trucks statistics as well as the heavy truck statistics.
  • Data is preliminary and may not be finalised until around July the following year