The Year of Living Dangerously

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1 The Year of Living Dangerously January 2011 Suncorp Life Accident Series

2 Disclaimer Suncorp Life s Year of Living Dangerously report examines data prepared, published and publicly available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2008 Causes of Death, code: The Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport, online database. And Work Safe Australia, Work-related traumatic injury fatalities Australia, calendar year Suncorp Life would like to acknowledge the assistance of Colmar Brunton during the preparation of this report. Methodology Suncorp Life s Year of Living Dangerously (40 years old) is the average age of death across five categories of cause of accidental death among Australians aged up to 74 years. The five categories of accidental death are those specified by the World Health Organisation s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and include transport accidents, falls, drowning, choking and poisoning. Data on other ICD categories of external death, such as suicide, as well as accidental deaths among Australians aged 75 years or older have been excluded from calculation of Suncorp Life s Year of Living Dangerously to ensure its relevance to insurable events/persons. Suncorp Life s Year of Living Dangerously was calculated based on the latest available ABS incidence data from The table below shows the ABS data used and the way in which the average age has been calculated based on this data. Due to confidentiality requirements, data only on the age brackets of deceased persons, rather than age in years, is publicly available through the ABS. Due to this limitation, age mid-points have been used in the calculation of the average age as is accepted practice when more detailed age data is not available. Age bracket of deceased persons Number of accidental deaths Percent of total accidental deaths Age mid-point (years) Contribution (years) to average Under 1 year % years % years % years % years % years % years % years % Total % Average age: 40

3 Contents Section Page Overview 2 New South Wales 5 Victoria 6 Queensland 7 South Australia 8 Western Australia 9 A word on workplace fatalities 10 Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 1

4 40 The Year of Living Dangerously Overview 40 found to be statistically the most dangerous year of your life with 2,277 accidental deaths 1 recorded in five accident categories The findings challenge commonly held beliefs that risk taking adolescents are most likely to die from accidental causes. Graph 1: Deaths by accident categories Roads 1266 deaths 54% Choking 82 deaths 4% Poisoning 576 deaths 25% Total 2,277 deaths 100% Drowning 149 deaths 6% Falls 244 deaths 11% Roads top accidental death list Deaths on our roads topped the list of accidental deaths with 1226, representing 54 percent of all accidental deaths and ranked first of the top five categories. According to ABS data, males accounted for 74 percent of all fatalities, while year old males accounted for 21.5 percent of all road deaths. These findings reiterate commonly held beliefs that young males are the most accident prone on our roads. However, and going some way to affirming the year of living dangerously, 39 year old males were more dangerous on our roads than 24 year old males recording more deaths than the younger age, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport online database. More than twice as many males die of poisoning 260 more males died of poisoning then females in 2008, with total deaths (576) representing 25 percent of all accidental deaths. Generation X represented a significant percentage (28 percent) of the total number of deaths in this category. 1 Suncorp Life s Year of Living Dangerously is determined as the average age of death across five accidental death categories (roads, poisoning, falls, drowning and choking) among Australians aged up to 74 years old. See Methodology for more information. 2 Suncorp

5 40 The Year of Living Dangerously Elderly women statistically more likely to die of falls Falls accounted for 244 accidental deaths, representing 11 percent of all accidental deaths and ranked third of the top five categories. The ABS identifies Falls as the only category where females registered more deaths then males (703 compared to 645). Australia s ageing population significantly contributed to deaths caused by falling, with those aged years representing 82 percent of all deaths. Drowning deaths skewed to males and the youth Australia s youth are significant contributors to the nation s accidental drowning numbers with those aged between 1-14 years recording 29 accidental deaths in this category. The numbers of youth deaths highlight the significant social issue of drowning in Australia, especially in backyard pools. Retirees record significant incidence of choking Of the 82 incidences of death by choking, those aged years old were more susceptible representing 56 percent of the total number of accidental deaths in this category. The gender ratio was not significant, however males did record higher incidences of accidental death in this category. Table 1: Death by accident categories No. of deaths No. of deaths % of total 1. Roads % 2. Poisoning % 3. Falls % 4. Drowning 149 6% 5. Choking 82 4% Total 2, % Table 2: Accident deaths by state 2 NSW VIC QLD SA WA Total 1. Roads , Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking Total ,277 2 Due to sample size ACT, NT and TAS have been excluded from a state by state comparison. Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 3

6 40 The Year of Living Dangerously continued Table 3: Accident deaths per 100,000 population 3 NSW VIC QLD SA WA Australia 1. Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking Average Based on ABS December 2008 population data 4 Suncorp

7 New South Wales Represented 559 or 25 percent of all accidental deaths in the nation Recorded the highest incidence of death in the drowning, choking, falls and poisoning categories year olds were most at risk from accidental drowning or poisoning Per capita NSW is the safest state in the country. More accidental deaths occur in NSW than anywhere else in the country The people of NSW have the highest incidence of death by choking, poisoning, falls and drowning than any other state or territory in Australia. However, new road users are also at risk with 12, 18 year old males killed in the 2008 calendar year. Preliminary results of the 2009 and 2010 calendar years show an increase in road deaths in NSW, though analysing Department of Infrastructure and Transport statistics the longer term average is improving. New South Wales Poisoning, drowning and choking There were significantly more poisoning, choking and drowning deaths in NSW than anywhere else in Australia. NSW recorded 262 deaths in these categories, 62 more than the next state Victoria year olds recorded the highest proportion of deaths in the drowning and poisoning categories making that age grouping the state s most accident prone. NSW the safest state? Considering its population NSW has one of the safest accident death rates per 100,000 people (see Table 4). NSW had lower numbers of accident deaths than the national average in all but the choking category. Table 4: Top five accidental deaths in New South Wales NSW Rank vs rest of country 4 Roads 228 5th Poisoning 180 4th Falls 69 5th Drowning 47 2nd (equal) Choking 35 2nd (equal) Total 559 5th 4 Ranking based on accident deaths per capita excluding ACT, NT and TAS) Graph 1: NSW accidental deaths compared to national average (per 100,000 population) Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking NSW Australia Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 5

8 Victoria Represented 491 or 22 percent of all accidental deaths in the nation Road deaths accounted for almost half (47 percent) of all accidental deaths in Victoria Victorians safest when it comes to water In terms of population Victoria had the best record for accidental drowning, among the mainland states, with only 0.5 people per 100,000 dying of accidental drowning or submersion, which was the lowest of all mainland states and lower than the national average of Table 5: Top five accidental deaths in Victoria VIC Rank vs rest of country 5 Roads 230 4th Poisoning 158 3rd Falls 61 3rd Drowning 23 5th Choking 19 4th Total 491 4th 5 Ranking based on accident deaths per capita and excluding ACT, NT and TAS due to sample size Graph 2: Victorian accidental deaths compared to national average (per 100,000 population) Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking Victoria Australia 6 Suncorp

9 Queensland Represented 461 or 21 percent of all accidental deaths in the nation Recorded the highest incidence of road deaths in the country with 311 deaths Ranked second in drowning, falls and road deaths (as a percentage of the population). Queensland the road accident capital of Australia Posting the biggest number of deaths on Australian roads in 2008, Queensland earned the title of road accident capital of Australia. 79 deaths were recorded on Queensland roads in the age group while 64 deaths were recorded in the year age group, with males making up 70 percent of all deaths on Queensland roads, suggesting young and middle age drivers are most at risk on Queensland roads. Queensland ranked second when introducing population as a factor. Queensland posts significant number of drowning deaths In terms of sheer numbers Queensland had the second highest incidence of death by accidental drowning or submersion with 29 deaths. NSW and Queenslanders represented 47 percent of all accidental drowning deaths in Australia over the review period. Table 6: Top five accidental deaths in Queensland QLD Rank vs rest of country 6 Roads 311 2nd Poisoning 57 5th New South Wales Queensland Falls 53 2nd Drowning 29 2nd Choking 11 5th Total 461 3rd 6 Ranking based on accident deaths per capita and excluding ACT, NT and TAS due to sample size Graph 3: Queensland accidental deaths compared to national average (per 100,000 population) Queensland Australia 2 0 Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 7

10 South Australia Represented 214 or nine percent of all accidental deaths In terms of numbers South Australia represented the safest state with the least amount of accidental deaths Considering its population South Australia recorded the highest incidence of poisoning and choking deaths Along with Western Australia and South Australia had the highest incidence of accidental choking deaths (as a percentage of the population) with 1.4 for every 100,000 people. South Australia the safe state? In all categories (apart from poisoning) South Australia is among the safest of all mainland states. In terms of numbers road and drowning deaths are the lowest of all mainland states with falls and choking categories close behind ranking second lowest in those categories. Population numbers tell a different story While South Australia is the safest in terms of sheer numbers, considering its smaller population as a factor, a different story emerges. In all categories besides road deaths South Australia came in at either 1st or 2nd when considering the size of its population. In fact, accidental poisoning and choking deaths are the highest of anywhere else in the country. Table 7: Top five accidental deaths in South Australia (numbers) QLD Rank vs rest of country 7 Roads 109 3rd Poisoning 62 1st Falls 21 1st (equal) Drowning 11 2nd (equal) Choking 11 1st Total 214 2nd 7 Ranking based on accident deaths per capita and excluding ACT, NT and TAS due to sample size Graph 4: South Australian accidental deaths compared to national average (per 100,000 population) Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking South Australia Australia 8 Suncorp

11 Western Australia Represented 360 or 16 percent of all accidental deaths Had the highest incidence of accidental road, falls and drowning deaths than any other mainland state when considering population numbers Significantly higher than national average and the highest of all mainland states, based on all five accidental death categories, taking into consideration population numbers. Western Australia is the most dangerous state in the country per capita Taking into account Western Australia s growth rates in terms of population its 2.2 million residents can consider themselves the most accident prone in the country. In the road, fall and drowning categories Western Australia topped the most dangerous list. 3.5 of every 100,000 Western Australians died of accidental causes compared to 2.3 Australia wide. Western Australian road deaths among worst in the country More Western Australians died on our roads (as a percentage of the population) than any other mainland state. Western Australians had more than triple the amount of accidental deaths on our roads per 100,000 people than NSW. Accidental drowning and submersion deaths soar in WA Accidental drowning was another bad news story for Western Australia with 1 in every 100,000 Western Australians dying of accidental drowning, more than any other mainland state. Table 8: Top five accidental deaths in Western Australia QLD Rank vs rest of country 8 Roads 221 1st Poisoning 80 2nd Falls 28 1st (equal) Drowning 21 1st Choking 10 2nd (equal) Total 360 1st 8 Ranking based on accident deaths per capita and excluding ACT, NT and TAS due to sample size Graph 5: Western Australian accidental deaths compared to national average (per 100,000 population) Western Australia Western Australia Australia 2 0 Roads Poisoning Falls Drowning Choking Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 9

12 A word on workplace fatalities While there were significant accidental deaths at the workplace, fatalities at the workplace were seen to cut across a number of categories, especially road deaths. In the 2008 calendar year 267 workplace fatalities were recorded in Australia. 50 percent of those fatalities were from workers aged between years. Analysis of preliminary data derived from Work Safe Australia for the 2008 calendar year reveals middle to older workers having the highest incidence of workplace fatalities, while 67 pre-retirees (50-59 age group) died in the workplace. The majority of work related fatalities and injuries result from road crashes including those occurring during commuting to and from the workplace. About Suncorp Life Suncorp Life is the life insurance, superannuation and investment, asset management and financial advice division of Suncorp Metway. With over 1100 employees, Suncorp Life services more than 570,000 customers in Australia and New Zealand. Suncorp Life s products and services are provided by the leading brands Asteron (life insurance) and Suncorp (life insurance, superannuation and investments). Suncorp Life s financial advice brands include Guardian Financial Planning. 10 Suncorp

13 Suncorp Life Accident Series The Year of Living Dangerously 11

14 /12/10 A

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