DESPITE the carnage witnessed on the North Coast section of the Pacific Hwy in recent days, including a fatality at Iluka on Monday and a double fatality at Bangalow in the first hours of 2013, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay was happy to announce last year's road toll was one of the lowest on record.
Though an increase on 2011, which saw the lowest road toll since 1932 with 364 road deaths, the 2012 "provisional" figure of 370 deaths is still a vast improvement on previous decades such as the 1970s when the road toll hovered closer to 1300 per year in NSW.
With random breath-testing introduced in 1982, the death toll steadily declined and the completion of the Sydney to Newcastle Freeway in 1988 also resulted in a significant drop in fatalities in the following decade.
Road improvements and better driver education are thought to have further reduced road fatalities from 603 in 2000 to 374 in 2008 before a spike to 460 in 2009.
Mr Gay said though the 2012 figure was the second lowest since 1932, the state needed to continue the downward trend.
"The main increases were among passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians," he said.
"Passenger deaths were up by 11% to 81, compared with 73 in 2011 and 54 pedestrians were killed, 10% more than in 2011.
"Motorcycle user deaths were up by 18%, to 60 in 2012 compared with 51 in 2011."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.