Vehicle-related flood fatalities in Australia, 2001–2017

Mozumdar A. Ahmed*, Katharine Haynes, Mel Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)


    This study analyses the circumstances of vehicle-related flood fatalities between 2001 and 2017, in Australia. The research identified 96 deaths from 74 incidents during this period. The aim of this analysis is to understand the demographic, spatial and temporal patterns, and the situational conditions in which those (n = 96) deaths have occurred. This is important for informing efficient and strategic risk reduction strategies to reduce vehicle related deaths and injuries in floodwater. Data were accessed from the Australian National Coronial Information System (NCIS), which includes witness and police statements, forensic documents, and detailed coronial findings. Analysis was conducted in two phases. In phase one, data were coded and categorised according to a range of factors previously identified as significant in vehicle-related flood fatalities internationally. In phase two, a detailed analysis was conducted on 11 selected incidents for which there were complete sets of records. This detailed analysis provides insight into the multifaceted nature of fatal vehicle-related flood fatality incidents. The overall results reveal that, for drivers, middle-aged and elderly males are over-represented in the fatality statistics. As passengers, young women and children are vulnerable. The study also identified deep floodwater with high flow contributes more to vehicle immersion, and the presence of alcohol and drugs, leading to impaired responses, reduces the chance of survival for the vehicle occupants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12616
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
    Issue number3
    Early online date30 Apr 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • driver
    • drowning
    • fatalities
    • flood
    • natural hazard
    • passenger
    • vehicles


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