Much has been written about the dangers of drunk driving. That drunk drivers are responsible for too many accidents is no secret. These drivers not only place their own lives at risk but also those of other law abiding road users.
But when are these risks most prevalent and how can we protect ourselves from them?
The Arrive Alive road safety website has been required to provide advice and suggestions on the topic of drunk driving – and this is best done when supported with factual evidence. Some interesting insights have been revealed by the Fatal Crash Report compiled by the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
We would like to point to a few of these statistics from the 2009 Fatal Crash Report:
Total Fatalities & Contributory Factors
• Between 1 January and 31 December 2009 there were 13,875 fatalities on te roads of Soth Africa.
• The human factor contributed 82,85% to fatal crashes during 2009, vehicle factors contributed 9.13% and road and environmental factors contributed 8,02%.
Male v Female Fatalities
• In the order of 76,20% fatalities during 2009 were male and 23,80% females. 92,54% of all drivers killed in crashes were male and 7,46% female.
• Most fatalities were amongst road users between the age group 20-40 years and especially amongst those 25-35years of age.
Day of the Week and Time of Day
The information revealed shows that almost one quarter (23,86%) of the weekly crashes happen on a Saturday, and 59,65% of all fatal crashes happened over weekends from Friday to Sunday.
The following percentage of crashes occurred in the respective hours of the day :
• From 18:00 to 19:00 : 6,93%;
• From 19:00 to 20:00 : 7,81%; and
• From 20:00 to 21:00 : 8,27%,
which totals to 23,01%, almost one quarter of the daily fatal crashes.
Drunk driving and fatal accidents
Information provided by the Medical Research Council (MRC) shows that 61% of pedestrians and 59% of drivers killed in road crashes were under the influence of alcohol. This information is collected by the MRC from mortuaries around the country. In order to collect more reliable information in this regard, SAPS investigating officers have been encouraged to take breath sample tests at crash scenes.
Conclusion and Advice
The fatal crash statistics illustrates how younger divers are most at risk – and especially at times when alcohol is most likely to play a role. The most dangerous time for young drivers is in the evening and at weekends!!
We would like to plead with our drivers to be extra cautious when going on the roads during weekends and when they plan to attend parties and functions. Alcohol and youthful exuberance does not combine well with safe driving.
It is of extreme importance not only to rely on your own driving ability and fitness to drive – but also to consider the threats posed by others. To avoid car insurance claims and to protect your safety on the road we would like to share a few suggestions:
• Plan ahead if you are attending a function where you might consume alcohol
• Know the limit – and stick to that limit – consuming more than 2 drinks might take you over the limit.
• It is best to arrange for a designated driver to take you home.
• Consider acquiring a breathalyser and do self-testing to establish whether you are below the legal alcohol limit.
• Abide by the Rules of the Road at all times and avoid confrontational and aggressive driving.
• Do not speed, adhere to traffic signs and avoid distractions while driving!
• Consider that others might be less obedient – and consider the possibility of transgressions from their side.
• Do not expect others to stop at the traffic lights – remain vigilant and approach intersections with caution!!