Road trauma costs Australia an officially-estimated $27 billion a year.
A review by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics says this amounts to 18 per cent of total health expenditure and 1.8 per cent of GDP.
The review, commissioned by the federal government and released on Tuesday, says significant progress has been made in meeting the target of reducing casualties by 30 per cent between 2011 and 2020.
But motorcyclists, cyclists, older drivers and people in remote communities remain at high risk.
The bureau's analysis also found distraction from mobile phones may have been a factor in seven per cent of crashes. In 2013, this amounted to 83 deaths and 2300 injuries needing hospitalisation.
The review said that in 2012, Australia rated 16th lowest out of 33 nations in terms of road deaths per 100,000 people. But there were huge differences between the lowest jurisdiction, the ACT, and the highest, the Northern Territory.
Key trends in road deaths in Australia between 1975 and 2013.
- Population up 66 per cent.
- Vehicle registrations up 174 per cent.
- Road crash deaths down 68 per cent.
- Road deaths per 100,000 population down from 26.6 per cent to 5.1 per cent.