The city with the worst drivers in South Africa

 ·29 Feb 2024

Cape Town in the Western Cape has the worst drivers out of any metropolitan area in South Africa, according to data from Budget Insurance.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s data, there were 12,436 fatalities in 2022/23, while 1,427 people died on the roads in the 2023/2024 festive season between 1 December and January 11 – an average of 32 motorists killed per day.

Presenting these statistics in January 2024, transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga also noted traffic volumes had grown, with about 13.1 million registered vehicles on South African roads at the start of the recent festive season campaign – a 168,000 increase from the year before.

Looking at provincial data, the top five provinces contributing over 70% of the fatalities last year:

  • Gauteng (19%);
  • Eastern Cape (16%);
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal (16%);
  • Limpopo (12%); and
  • Western Cape (10%).

Although Gauteng ranks on top for the most deaths, this is generally expected as Gauteng is the most populated and urbanised province in South Africa.

However, when looking at Budget Insurance’s vehicle accident claims data, the picture changes.

The insurer did not disclose the exact numbers, but it stated that drivers in Cape Town encountered the highest number of car accidents compared to any other city in the country from 2021 to 2023.

During this period, the number of claims submitted to Budget rose by 36%.

Following the coastal city were Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively, both of which are located in Gauteng.

According to the insurer, East London in the Eastern Cape has the safest drivers in South Africa, followed by Centurion in Gauteng and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

Below is a table ranking cities by the number of car accidents and the change in accident claims from 2021 to 2023, according to Budget Insurance.

RankCity2021-2023 Change in claims
1Cape Town +36%
2Pretoria +15%
3Johannesburg +23%
4Durban +11%
5Bloemfontein +14%
6Port Elizabeth+16%
7Pietermaritzburg -10%
9East London +20%

The provinces with the highest number of car accidents over the past two years were Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

Between 2021 and 2023, these provinces saw an uptick in claims of 21%, 22%, and 7%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the three regions with the safest drivers were the Northern Cape, with a 12% increase, followed by the Free State at 10%, and then Limpopo at 5%.

Below is a table ranking provinces by car accident claims, including the change in claims from 2021 to 2023, according to Budget.

RankProvince2021-2023 Change in claims
1Gauteng +21%
2Western Cape +22%
3KwaZulu-Natal +7%
4Eastern Cape +13%
6North West+2%
8Free State+10%
9Northern Cape+12%

Read: You can now get an official qualification in fixing potholes in South Africa

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