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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: Road Safety

Cheeky Employee


Over the last couple of weeks, there has been an increasing number of fatal accidents on the South African roads.  These few, highlighted events do not paint the full picture though and neither is this a new problem.  In the past decade, South Africa has lost so many lives to our roads that the death toll is comparable to the population of Randfontein.

So let’s take a look at the numbers, locally and globally to see why this is an issue we should be more aware of.  Statistics tend to lie by misrepresenting information or leaving out important details.  What stories are these statistics not telling?



The Statistics:

Over a million people died on the world’s roads in the last year and of that number a quarter million occurred in Africa.

Europe has the lowest death toll, with only about 85 000 deaths.


The top 5 lowest percentage death rates are in countries that drive on the right side of the road.  The country with the percentage highest death rate also prefers to drive on the right (Libya).

Norway has some of the world’s safest roads with only 3.1 deaths per 100 000 cars.

South Africans lose about 22 people out of 100 000 to our roads annually.  Men are much more likely to die on our roads than women are.


‘An international survey undertaken in 2015 revealed that South Africa had the highest number of drunk driving incidents at 58% with Canada next on 34% and China the least on 4%.’ News 24

Our death tolls are on the increase because of more drunk drivers causing fatalities.  Ramaphosa has said that he aims to increase arrests of drunk drivers in 2019.  A night of fun could end in the death of a loved one.  Driver attitudes towards driving over the legal limit are becoming more and more apathetic as the death toll rises.


These are recorded among the human factors that most lead to crashes and deaths:

  • Jaywalking pedestrians – 38.8%
  • Hit and run crashes – 18.5%
  • High speed – 14.1%
  • Overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic – 6.9%
  • Drunk driving or driving while on drugs – 3.6%
  • Driver fatigue – 2.2%

drunk driving statistics

Some of the solutions posed for this problem include:

Safer and more accessible pedestrian crossings and public transport.

More law enforcement on our roads.

More education on the risks of driving under the influence or at high speeds.


The most dangerous province to drive in is KwaZulu Natal and the province with the least road-related fatalities is the Northern Cape.

Keep your wits about you and be safe this holiday.

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