After winning precious Olympic gold medals, South Africa has just learnt it is number one in the world for deaths due to drunk driving. Almost 6 out of every 10 road deaths in South Africa can be blamed on drinking alcohol.
This finding from the World Health Organisation’s latest Global Status Report on Road Safety for 2015 (based on information from 180 countries) has clear implications for law-abiding and responsible road users in South Africa who avoid alcohol when driving.
With 25,1 road deaths per 100 000 South Africans every year, 58% of those deaths link to alcohol consumption. White crosses by the side of the road and news coverage confirms this sad fact. Canada follows at 34% and the United States at 31% (The United Kingdom scores 16% and Germany 9%). Road deaths cost the SA economy at least R306 billion per year (excluding the ripple effects), so alcohol-linked deaths would account for R177,5 billion, while the real cost lies in the loss of lives and livelihoods.
Despite authorities stepping up visible policing, road blocks, law enforcement, prosecution, suspension of driver’s licenses, breathaliser testing (now admissible as evidence in court) safety and shock campaigns, it still leaves law-abiding and responsible SA citizens at risk. Often young lives are needlessly lost through alcohol abuse. Research shows that the biggest single deterrent for drunk driving is the perception that the driver will be caught and that he or she will suffer consequences.
“With these realities, no road user can afford to be without proper insurance. Loss, trauma and tragedy due to drunk driving is made even worse without financial cover for repairs, replacement and treatment,” says Claire Govender, Manager of Underwriting at IntegriSure.
“Insurance claims will not be paid out if the driver was under the influence of alcohol. You need proper insurance cover even if you are innocent, a bystander or victim of a drunk driving accident. Given the costs of accidents, specifically the “avoidable” alcohol-related ones, vehicle repairs, replacement and medical care, insurance premiums simply have to keep track.
“That is why at IntegriSure we specifically welcome clients who are responsible and caring with their properties, possessions, vehicles, health and especially their own and the lives of others. They reap the benefit of contained increases and cost-effective cover because our client risk pool is lower than the average,” says Claire.
New South Wales in Australia has had success with their “Plan B” campaign. The strong message is that people who drink need “a plan B”: getting a lift, sleeping over or taking a taxi home. A sustained media and awareness campaign, branded patrol vehicles plus zero tolerance law enforcement have positively changed behaviours. “IntegriSure offers a “Take Me Home” service as part of our policy benefits. You can arrange this before a night out, knowing you and your party will be safe. Also be aware of risky areas and times of the day and week and plan your journeys around that”, says Claire.