Many of the leading causes of road accidents in South Africa are ones under our control.
Reminding ourselves of these may help in preventing accidents and the life-altering consequences they can have.
Road accident statistics in South Africa
South Africa has an annual road death toll that’s significantly higher than the world average. It’s also higher than the African average.
According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s most recent annual report, there were 12,921 deaths on South Africa’s roads in a single year. Over the holidays, in particular, serious road accidents are a daily occurrence.
Top causes of road accidents
These are among the leading causes of South African road accidents.
Not focusing on the road while driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents. Distractions include common behaviours like using a cell phone, eating food or applying make-up. Texting while driving makes you 23% more likely to be involved in an accident.
2. Drunk driving
According to Arrive Alive, 50% of those who die in road accidents have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres.
Currently, the limit for driving while under the influence is a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or less. Drunk driving carries heavy penalties and frequently results in fatal accidents.
From June 2020, a new law in South Africa will set the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers to 0%. This means that a single drink could put a driver over the legal limit.
This zero-tolerance limit forms part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which was signed into law in 2019.
According to Arrive Alive, the likelihood of death occurring due to a collision at 80 kph is 20 times higher than a collision at 32 kph. Speeding also increases your likelihood of having a collision because your stopping time increases exponentially.
4. Reckless driving
Reckless or negligent driving includes actions like overtaking when it’s unsafe to do so, not stopping properly at stop signs or traffic lights, and changing lanes into tight spaces. It’s easy to see how these behaviours contribute to the high number of road accidents.
J-walking, especially on highways, causes accidents when pedestrians are struck or cars swerve to avoid them. According to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA), a third of road fatalities are pedestrians.
Weather, and rain in particular, is a major contributor to road accidents because it causes poor visibility and difficult driving conditions. Heavy rains can lead to flooding and large puddles that cause cars to aquaplane.
7. Poor road conditions
Potholes, cracks and uneven or loose road surfaces also contribute to road accidents. The AA has reportedly said that proper road maintenance in South Africa would result in an immediate 5% decrease in road deaths.
8. Vehicle faults
Poorly maintained and unroadworthy vehicles cause accidents when parts, such as brakes or tyres, fail. A lack of mirrors, cracked windshields, faulty lights and indicators, and no windscreen wipers all increase the likelihood of a collision.
Leading causes of road accidents among young drivers
Teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to be involved in accidents, according to Arrive Alive.
Young drivers are also 20 times more likely to cause accidents due to drunk driving or speeding.
Other common causes of road accidents among younger drivers include:
- texting while driving
- lack of experience, especially in poor road or weather conditions
- failure to use seatbelts
- being distracted by other passengers.
Road accident claims
At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims. Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Contact us online or call 0861 465 879 for the very best legal support and representation. Note that we work on a no win, no fee basis.