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February 24th, 2017 by


Driver inattention, paired with alcohol and speeding, are the three biggest causes of accidents, or near-accidents, in South Africa.

In 2011, The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that the proportion of drivers, worldwide, using their cellphones whilst driving had risen from 1% to 11% in the last five to 10 years.

Data collected from the Discovery Insure Driving Challenge indicated that a single instance of cell phone usage represents an average of 52 seconds of distracted driving. For example, if a car is driving at an average of 60km/h, the driver would experience one kilometre of “blind driving”.

The data also shows the worst 20% of drivers use their phones for an average of three minutes per trip.

Car Insurance Comparison6 - Driving Distracted, 6x More Dangerous Than Driving Drunk

Distracted And Inattentive Driving Project, South Africa

In 2015, the Road Traffic Management Corporation undertook a pilot study to investigate how prevalent driver inattention and distraction is in South Africa.

The pilot project only collected data from four drivers, two experienced and two inexperienced, over a six-month period. It is, however, interesting to note that all the drivers in this pilot project showed signs of being distracted while driving.

“It will be interesting to determine if inattentive driving has become the norm, rather than the exception, among South African drivers,” says Karien Venter, a member of the study.

“Internationally, the role that inattention and distraction plays in crashes and near-crashes has received a lot of attention. Using electronic equipment while driving, talking to passengers, grooming, as well as eating and drinking, all influence driver behaviour.”

The investigation of inattentive and distracted driving is a commencement of research aimed at exploring the potential extraction of useful information from available naturalistic driving data.

“New evidence suggests that driver distraction is probably six times more dangerous than driving drunk. If one considers a driver, just over the legal alcohol limit of 0.05, already having a potential risk of being involved in a crash – 15 times more than a sober person – then the context of distraction is even more frightening”, the AA added.

Banner Image 01  - Driving Distracted, 6x More Dangerous Than Driving Drunk

Festive Season Fatalities Over December 2016

A total of 1714 people lost their lives during December 2016 and January 2017. This was 5% higher than the previous festive season.

“It’s a fact that, when dealing with driver behaviour, drivers consistently overestimate their abilities, and underestimate the risk for an accident when talking or texting while driving,” says CEO of Discovery Insure, Anton Ossip. 

Driver distraction is any activity that diverts the attention away from the primary driving task. Observations indicated that the drivers did engage in secondary activities while driving. Although the frequency and manner in which they did so differed.