SA most dangerous country to drive


In addition to sky-high crime rates, South Africa is also the country where it is the most dangerous to drive – worldwide.

International research into road accidents in more than 50 countries has found that South African roads are the most dangerous – precisely because so many motorists drive under the influence of alcohol.

The US driver training group Zutobi’s latest research on road safety examined and measured the situation on 53 countries’ roads. Each of these countries received a score out of ten for five safety factors; according to which it is decided where it is safe and dangerous to drive.

The research was modeled on information obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the estimated road death rate in each country.

Although South Africa did not perform the worst in this category, there are still an estimated 22.2 road deaths per 100,000 of the population in the country.

The most road deaths were recorded in Thailand – as many as 32.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Thailand is considered by the researchers to be the second most unsafe country to drive in.

Considered the safest country to drive in, Norway has by far the fewest road deaths (1.48) per 100,000 people.

South Africa does do the worst in one of the most important safety factors that the research paid attention to: road deaths attributed to alcohol use.

In this category, South Africa recorded the highest number of alcohol-related road deaths. As many as 57.7% of accidents are alcohol-related.

This while countries like Malaysia attribute only 0.1% of its road deaths to drink abuse. According to the research, this low figure may be because the majority of the country’s population are Muslims, and do not necessarily drink alcohol or use it in public.

“Alcohol is sold to those who are not Muslim, and the country’s legal blood alcohol concentration level is 0.08%.”

This figure is indeed higher than South Africa’s 0.05% – an average for most countries.

The research also points out that South Africa’s maximum speed limit – as in several other countries – is 120 km/h. Moreover, it is not much more than the 110 km/h speed limit that is in force in the safest country (Norway).

“However, it is estimated that only 31% of passengers who sit in the front of a car in South Africa do wear a seat belt. This while most (97.8%) passengers in Norway fasten their seat belts.”

Germany is again the only country that has no speed limit, but instead has proposals for a limit. However, most passengers (98.1%) wear their seat belts, which seems to make a significant difference in the country’s road death rate (7%).

In contrast, Bolivia has the lowest speed limit (80 km/h) and, moreover, the fewest passengers wearing seat belts. Only 3.5% of the population wear their seat belts and according to the research there is no national legislation that requires motorists to do so.

On the basis of the above data, Zutobi worked out an average score out of ten for each country to determine exactly how safe it is to drive in the respective countries.

South Africa fared the worst with an overall score of 3.4, while Norway excelled with a score of 8.23.