The one thing behind 80% of car crashes in South Africa

 ·4 May 2024

Driving while distracted (DWD) is seriously dangerous, with 60% to 80% of car accidents in South Africa linked to it in some capacity.

CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said that 60% of crashes amongst the clients of a prominent insurer were due to DWD.

“The same statistic can be applied to the wider population and perhaps be even higher. It is difficult to prove someone was using their phone before a crash without specialised software to assist,” said Herbert

“Thus, if you are guilty of using your phone and driving while knowing that 60% of crashes could be as a result of DWD, MasterDrive compiled statistics that should change the mind of anyone who persists in this dangerous driving behaviour.”

According to MasterDrive, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a crash than driving drunk.

Traffic collisions are also the number one cause of workplace injuries and fatalities.

In addition, a simple 2-second glance increases the likelihood of a crash.

Source: MasterDrive

“Whether it’s a child thumping the back of your car seat or a quick glance at your messaging app at the red robot, driver distraction is a significant danger on South Africa’s roads,” said Discovery.

“In fact, Discovery Insure’s research shows that just a single instance of mobile phone usage results in about 52 seconds of distracted driving.”

“This means if you’re driving at 60km/h, you’re driving “blind” for one kilometre (and you’re four times more likely to have an accident).”

Discovery said that 80% of crashes involved some form of driver distraction.


Discovery said that phones are the number-one distraction culprit for DWD, making Bluetooth essential – and legally required.

“To avoid fumbling with apps, enter your destination into your maps before driving off, get that playlist ready to go, and set your phone to DND if possible so you’re not disturbed by the temptation of responding to a message or a quick inbox check. It can all wait until you get to the office,” said Discovery.

Moreover, any child under 12 must wear a seatbelt in the back seat, while infants need to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they’re at least 12 months old and weigh a minimum of 9 kilograms.

Children who are one year old or over and between 9 and 18 kilograms should be fine in forward-facing safety seats.

Pets can also cause distractions, which means that a portable pet home or a backseat cover that acts as a barrier between your pet and you is essential.

“Before you reverse out of the driveway, check for items like bottles or that lip balm you can never find, because things rolling under your feet while you’re driving can distract you and cause accidents. Also, don’t forget to put your seatbelt on and make any adjustments before you pull off,” said Discovery.

Read: Bright spark for South Africa’s economy

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter