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SA world's worst drunk-driving country

Drink and drive

Caption: ROAD DEATHS APPALLING: South Africa tops the list of drunk-driving related deaths in the world, reports the World Health Organisation.

CAPE TOWN - With the holiday season approaching and given the country's appalling annual road death statistics, we are constantly reminded of South Africa's high rate of drunk-driving related deaths.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa tops the list of drunk-driving related deaths in the world.

According to the latest Global Status report on Road Safety for 2015, 58% of deaths are alcohol related.

Drunk-driving fatalities

Dawie Buys, manager of insurance risks at the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), warns South Africans to take heed of this shocking statistic and to never get behind the wheel or drive with anyone who exceeds the alcohol limit of 0.05 gram per 100mm.

Buys said: “As we approach the 2015/16 holiday season, a time when drunk driving fatalities historically spike, it must be top of mind for all motorists that drinking and driving is simply not an option, as motorists literally hold their lives and the lives of other road users in their hands.”

According to the report, you have a 26.6 percent chance of dying in a road crash in Africa. The second most dangerous region on the WHO's list is the Eastern Mediterranean - 19.9 percent chance of being killed on the road.

According to the WHO: “South Africa remains one of the more dangerous countries for road safety, with 25.1 deaths per 100 000 population. The report noted however, that there has been a steady improvement in danger levels since a peak of 33 deaths per 100 000 people, recorded in 2006.”

Apart from alcohol abuse, the major causes for fatal road deaths are speeding, not wearing seatbelts, lack of child restraints and no helmets for motorcyclists.

Buys adds that the report estimates that 7.8 percent of South Africa’s GDP is lost due to crashes on the country’s roads.

“The insurance industry currently insures around R46 billion worth of cars, with 70% of motor claims being accident-related and in the majority of all accidents, alcohol plays a role. Despite whether motorists have extensive motor insurance cover, if they drink and drive and this is proven, they will not be able to claim for damages and will be held liable for their own financial loss, as well as that of the person or vehicle affected,” the report says.


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