Crashes cost SA billions a year: Here's where the money goes

Charlen Raymond
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 COST TO SA: Road related accidents, crashes and deaths costs South Africa billions each year. Image: iStock ~ iStock

Cape Town - Every year thousands of lives are lost in crashes along South Africa's roads.

Though lives lost in road carnage should receive the most attention from law enforcement and Government, another aspect of these unfortunate events is as critical - the cost to the South African economy.

Road crashes are costing the country billions, not to mention the staggering cost in lives.

Billions wasted

In a report issued by the Road Traffic Management Cooperation (RTMC), the The total cost for 2015 is R142.95bn, compared to R112.78bn in 2004. The report, in partnership with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), focuses on 12 years of road crashes in SA. The report details costs from 2015 as 2016 data is not yet available.

The RTMC said: "The first phase of the project updated the RTC unit cost tables of CoC 2004 using the RTMC’s 2015 fatal RTC dataset and other appropriate cost elements relating to human casualty, vehicle repair and incident related costs.

"Potential additional variables were identified to be included in the second phase which focused on the development of a 2016 methodology with 2015 as the base year (referred to as CoC 2016)."

Furthermore, to repair vehicles damaged in accidents was R23.15bn in 2004 but in 2016 that amount has dropped to R21.33bn, reports RTMC.

Minor incidents cost the country R22.60bn in 2015 - R2bn more than in 2004.

READ: South Africans against Drunk Driving - A mother's battle to end road carnage

We've included the full report at the end of the article.

Cost of crashes in South Africa: 

Unit costs per Road Traffic Crash (RTC), by cost category and element, are shown in Table 9 (below). In 2015 the cost per fatal RTC was R5 435 261; the cost for a major RTC was R765 664; the cost for a minor RTC was R152 244 and the cost for a RTC without any injuries (damage only) was R48 533. The average cost per crash was R171 727.

The total RTC costs per category and severity for 2015 are shown in Table 10 (below). The total national RTC costs for 2015 amounted to R142.95bn, which translated to 3.4% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.

Human casualty costs comprised 69.3% of the total RTC cost, vehicle repair costs 14.9% and incident costs 15.8%. Fatal crashes constituted 43.4% of the total cost, major crashes 21.5%, minor crashes 14.1% and damage only crashes 22.0%.

The differences between the costs in 2004 and 2016 (preliminary) are indicated in Table 15 (below).

For the detailed report on costs of crashes in South Africa, click here.

Moving in the right direction

Johan Jonck from Arrive Alive said: "To implement road safety strategies that will reduce road carnage, we need accurate data for informed decision making. The report emphasises this. The report, which was commissioned by the RTMC and compiled in partnership with the CSIR, is a major step in the right direction.

"It also provides some insight on the complexities and far-reaching consequences of road traffic crashes. Too often, we only emphasise fatal crashes and fatalities in the media, and neglect to remind ourselves that there are so many other crashes that have a human and monetary impact for many years to come.

"The report provides further insights to the numbers on crashes where there are no fatalities but serious and minor injuries. The report highlights the need for urgent action in addressing bad road behaviour that cripples the country and its people."

See the embedded post below for the full report.