Officials in the Australian state of New South Wales have expressed concern after it was revealed that road fatalities up to October have already exceeded last year’s total.

With two more months to go, the state has reported deaths of 393 people on its roads in 2009 so far, compared to the total of 374 for the whole of 2008.

According to the state’s traffic police, speeding is a major factor while there is no pattern to suggest the surge in the numbers.

Transport Minister David Campbell said that he was worried as an individual member of the community and would continue to try and drive home the message that we all have a role to play in driving down the road toll.

“From next week, drivers who receive a penalty notice in the mail for a speeding or a red light offence will see a change to those penalty notices with a road safety message inserted,” Campbell said.

Speed has accounted for 43%, alcohol for over 20% and fatigue for 18% of all the vehicle crashes.