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South Africa worst in the world for drunk driving

South Africa worst in the world for drunk driving

South Africa has more drunk-driving related deaths than anywhere else in the world.

This is according to the latest Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO report covers 180 countries across the globe, noting that total road traffic deaths amounted to 1.25 million per year, as at 2013.

The highest number of road traffic fatalities were recorded in low-income countries (24.1% of all deaths), the group said, and is the number one cause of death among people aged 15-29 years olds the world over.

Shockingly, you have a 26.6% chance of dying in a road accident in Africa, with the next most dangerous region being the Eastern Mediterranean, where you have 19.9% chance of being killed on the road, the WHO said.

South African roads

South Africa remains as one of the more dangerous countries for road safety, with 25.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

There has however, been a steady improvement in danger levels since a peak of 33 deaths per 100,000 people, recorded in 2006.

Trends in road deaths

Trends in road deaths

Alarmingly, the WHO noted that South Africa has the highest rate of alcohol-related road deaths, where as much as 58% of deaths can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

Of 180 countries covered in the report, only 95 provide data on the proportion of deaths attributable to alcohol abuse.

These countries have proportions that range from less than 1% of deaths in Costa Rica and Oman, to the 58% ceiling in South Africa (excluding countries with small populations which distort the data).

While South Africa has national laws to combat drunk driving, the country only scores 4 out of 10 in its capacity to enforce them.

Speed limit enforcement scores 3 out of 10, and seat-belt laws score even worse in terms of enforcement: 2 out of 10.

According to the WHO data,  31% of passengers in cars in SA wear a seat, while only a third (33%) of drivers opt to wear a seat belt, the global organisation said.

When it comes to road deaths in South Africa, 38% are passengers of 4-wheeled vehicles, 29% are the drivers of vehicles, and 33% are pedestrians.

Deaths by category

The WHO estimates that 7.8% of South Africa’s GDP is lost due to crashes on the country’s roads.

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  • Werner Ackermann

    Worst out of the countries reporting that figure, perhaps.

    But 58% still puts us behind the Marshall Iislands and Palau that reported 100% as well as Seychelles that reported 60%.

  • b0erseun

    Maybe if the public transport system was safer and more reliable, this would not be the case.

    • Keegz

      Thats an ignorant excuse to drink and drive

      • aZAsolve

        That sounds very deep to me. Surely b0erseun says that a better public transport system provides the opportunity to travel safely after consuming one or two without having to get behind the wheel yourself?

  • BrS

    “only 95 provide data on the proportion of deaths attributable to alcohol abuse”

    And how many countries report deaths attributable to alcohol use?

  • Skerminkel

    “Shockingly, you have a 26.6% chance of dying in a road accident in
    Africa, with the next most dangerous region being the Eastern
    Mediterranean, where you have 19.9% chance of being killed on the road,
    the WHO said.”
    Complete nonsensical percentages. Does it mean that more than 1/4 of people in Africa will die in road accidents? Poor copy&paste there.

    • Whatdoyknow

      Poor answer rather. Don”t say anything when you don’t know how percentages work. It means that 26.6% of the accidents happening in this country will be deadly. while 19.9% then consequently of road accidents in the Mediterranean are deadly. It has nothing to do with the entire population of the country.

      • Skerminkel

        I know well enough how percentages work, so no need to get insulting!
        Thanks for the explanation anyway. I maintain that the sentence is ambiguous and unclear.

  • Icemanjh

    Does this include drunk pedestrians walking in the road?

    • nickn4m3

      Yes it does.
      sober driver + drunk pedestrian == “alcohol-related road deaths”

      • The BOSS

        lol, great answer. You just made my day

  • nkokhi

    Its because of eTolls 😛

  • In my experience this once again comes down to corruption (bribes). While living in JHB I got away by just giving the money they blatantly asked for. It’s usually in the form of “Do you know what is going to happen to you? How are we going to fix this? How much do you have on you?” and then they waste your time by just not letting you go.

  • nickn4m3

    I am so tired of people criticizing myBB for their shocking reporting quality, but seriously, it is pathetic.

    “drunk driving” – means that the driver of the car had more alcohol in his system than is legally allowed.

    “alcohol-related road deaths” – means that someone involved in the accident had consumed alcohol.

    In other words:
    sober driver + “drunk” pedestrian == “alcohol-related road deaths”

    But:
    sober driver + “drunk” pedestrian != “drunk driving”

    • aZAsolve

      Yes. As I understand the law, anybody who’s ability to drive is impeded by alcohol (or a medicine) is deemed unfit to drive the vehicle, irrespective of how much he or she had drunk. That is termed “being under the influence…”. However, if the blood/ alcohol volume is more than 0.05%, then you are automatically guilty of driving under the influence, irrespective of your impeded ability to drive a vehicle or not. I’m not so sure about the law and pedestrians.

  • Runnin Bare

    High alcohol consumption is also a slow poison, hopefully will take its course, reduce the numbers and road deaths…☺.

  • VaMutuki

    In most African countries they don’t even have resources to test whether you drunk or not.

  • Konstabel Koekemoer

    And this is exactly why the ministers proposal for a zero alcohol limit is absolutely ludicrous. Law enforcement is unable to control the situation with the current limit so lower it to zero would mean that they now would use scarce police and legal resources to prosecute drivers who have had a glass of wine or one beer and are really not the cause of the mayhem on our roads. With such a huge problem the first priority should be to catch the worst offenders who can easily be spotted by the erratic way they drive. Road blocks and random checks are a waste of time and resources as you end up screening a lot of motorists who are clearly not drunk. A much more target approach is needed.

    • aZAsolve

      I disagree that 1 beer or 1 glass of wine would not cause a problem. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of licenced people who take chronic medications that are less able to drive well after consumption of so much alcohol. You have a point as regards the enforcement aspect of the limit, but that is an enforcement problem, not a legislative problem. Similar is the situation at road blocks. Properly planned random road blocks at the right times done by well trained conscientious staff and followed up by diligent prosecution can do wonders. However, punishment should more drastic than fines.

      • Daitedve

        You disagree, but push absolutely ridiculous argue. We should think about MOST of the people, not exceptional cases! And most people ARE able to drive after 1-2 beers! I see no any reason to strict rules, while we have morons like taxi drivers who drive even worse than drunk monkey!

        • aZAsolve

          No, I don’t think so. There is a nice graph based on empirical evidence on Wikepedia that illustrates how the relative risk of an accident increases with rising blood alcohol level; check the article “Blood Alcohol Content”. Also compare the “legal limit” in various countries. The legislation is unpopular and expensive to enforce. Why have it? To protect the public against those who think that they are OK to drive after one or two.
          Can’t argue about bad driving on our roads. This morning somebody tried to squeeze me off the road in Atherstone Road in Sandton; (not a taxi, but a rich guy in an expensive 4X4) and minutes later a person in another 4X4 lost their temper when I turned at a green light in my favour from Corlett into Jacobs. That person accelerated over the red robot from about 10 meters away!. Ten minutes later, a lady in 6’th road also came bearing down on me on the wrong side of the road at Hyde Park Corner! So please don’t tell me that taxi drivers and only taxi drivers drive like pork muscles. Drink to that if you must, but don’t drive. For every body else’s sake!

      • You’re likely to have a blood-alcohol level of a beer or two in your system in any event, even if you haven’t consumed any liquor.

        The idea of road blocks are to detect people who are driving under the influence. Given this, regardless of how much beer you’ve had to drink, the system should be able to reasonable gauge wheter someone is driving under the influence, or tripping on a beer and the side effect of their pills, or just have active gut bacteria that causes alcohol in their blood.

  • Daitedve

    First of all SA is the first on percentage of idiots! And despite they are drunk or not, they significantly affect our life – see example of Zuma and all his gov. Same with cars – you’re killed NOT by speed, neither by alco – you killed by idiots, who cannot drive properly even being dry.

    • Blapartheid Zulu

      Hey man, leave the taxi drivers out haha

  • If 33% of the road deaths are pedestrians, it’s not drunk driving that’s at fault.

  • Jody Anthony Roberts

    Alcohol related road deaths are not specifically drunk driving. From what I have seen a lot of these drunkards are pedestrians. In no way am I saying the drunk driving stats are ok, but honestly I have yet to see someone being fined or arrested for walking across the N3 or R21 as drunk as a skunk. Let someone spill a beer on you without drinking and try and drive down Witkoppen on a Friday night. The Ntsho-Ntsho hunters will be there to make your life a living hell. Play the ball not the man!

  • Gareth David

    Actually I think the level should be raised, this would the reduce the amount of people getting jailed or a criminal record and free up the judiciary system to process those who do consume way over their limit!

    1 or 2 two beers or wine won’t make you a hazard per se, but clearly these fools are more interested in the potential money collection that actual safety.

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