South Africa worst in the world for drunk driving

 ·19 Oct 2015

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.

More on traffic

Joburg traffic light mess

Watch: Joburg taxis dice with oncoming traffic

Cities with the worst traffic jams in SA

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter