New AA summary highlights road safety crisis
04 December 2013:
Almost a quarter of a million claims are paid out by the Road Accident Fund every year. This is one of the startling pieces of information contained in a new Automobile Association summary report on road safety.
Using data from 2011 – the last year in which the Road Traffic Management Corporation released a South African road safety report – the AA has compiled an in-depth summary which reveals how serious the South African road safety crisis has become. The report also shows how poorly the country fares by comparison to some of the other BRICS countries - India has a fatality rate which is just one-third of South Africa's.
“South Africa has modern roads, modern vehicles and considerable funding available for road safety,” said AA Head of Public Affairs, Graeme Scala. “The lack of government prioritisation of road safety is the missing piece of the puzzle.” A fatal crash happens every 48 minutes in South Africa, resulting in more than 13 800 deaths a year.
More than half of all people killed in crashes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their deaths. While pedestrian fatalities tend to be singled out for attention, the AA report reveals that drivers account for an astonishingly high number of fatalities. “33% of fatalities are pedestrians, but drivers aren't far behind at 29%,” Scala commented.
“The fact that doesn't get enough attention is that both these categories are outstripped by passengers, who are the biggest class of fatalities at 38%,” he added. The AA said that these figures showed that the effects of bad driving were not limited to one particular category of road user. “Traffic fatalities are a reality for all people from all backgrounds and all walks of life,” Scala commented. “If you use the roads, you are at risk.”
One of the most striking pieces of information in the report is that wearing a seatbelt can reduce death risk in a head-on crash by as much as 72%. “South Africa's seatbelt wearing rate is very low by world standards. We call on all motorists to buckle up these holidays, and not drive after drinking,” Scala concluded.
The summary report can be downloaded HERE