Shock stats on bad SA drivers

2013-06-12 05:41

CAPE TOWN - Driving standards in South Africa are shocking, not helped at all by a nigh-useless driving test, flagrant disregard for all traffic laws by a growing sector of the community, poor policing and a lack of proper training.

Fleet Magazine reported that a recent survey conducted by Goodyear (the behaviour of young drivers particularly) suggests they are not adequately prepared and should consider going back to driving school to hone their skills.


Senior traffic and transport officials are reporting drivers on long-distance trips have driven more carefully earlier in 2013 resulting in a reduced number of accidents and deaths but as drivers flocked home from the Easter weekend the statistics continued to climb grimly.

National Transport Minister Ben Martins called for cautionary driving and an obedience to the rules of the road – traits that Goodyear’s recent roads safety survey revealed are lacking from the on-road mindset of South Africa’s young drivers.

Lize Hayward, Goodyear SA's group brand communications manager, said: “Our study was specifically designed to explore a wide range of factors from driver training through to general concerns among young drivers.

"As part of Goodyear’s commitment to understanding and addressing driver safety, it probed the behaviour of 6400 drivers under the age of 25. The survey covered 16 markets (15 European countries and, for the first time, South Africa) and was designed to get inside each young driver's brain to shed light on their behaviour.

“South Africans scored highest in several misbehaviours, among them accelerating up to make it through an orange traffic light (83% vs 73% globally) and weaving from lane to lane to get ahead (48% vs 28% global average).”

Goodyear’s study showed 90% of young South Africans were fully comfortable to drive on their own after completing their training – the highest score among the surveyed countries (global 78%) yet more than a third admitted that if they were to take their driving test again they would fail (37%, global 27%).


In South Africa 82% of young drivers passed their theoretical test on the first try (global 84%) while 59% succeeded in passing their practical test on the first attempt (global 68%). At the same time, 79% believed many people in South Africa gave bribes to obtain a licence more easily. Nationally speaking, 76% said it was very expensive to get a licence.

When driving training has been insufficient, the mindset seems to be that experience helps to compensate. Only 44% of young South Africans learned to drive in heavy rain when there is a risk of aquaplaning yet 85% said they were comfortable driving in heavy rain today. Similarly, only 39% learned to drive at night – not surprising, as most lessons are given in daylight – but 90% dthey are comfortable doing so.

Emergency-manoeuvre training has been given to 58% of young drivers and 89% said they were comfortable with it.

In addition to a low level of knowledge of some of the trickier elements of driving, it seems young drivers are not well trained in some of the wider motoring skills either. Of those surveyed, South Africans are most anxious about security issues, such as breaking down in an unsafe part of town (78%, 45% global) or being hijacked (71%, 38% global). Yet only 23% of South African youngsters were taught to change a tyre during their driving training (even lower globally at 20%), 34% learnt the frequency of car check-ups, and anti-hijacking or security awareness seems only to be taught on specialist courses.

“Young people are disproportionately involved in collisions and fatalities, making it crucial to ensure that they are trained adequately by a driving school. With safety at the core of our tradition, Goodyear works with the European Driving Schools Association (EFA) in Europe, the Volkswagen Driving Academy (VWDA) in South Africa and Goodyear 4x4 Academy in the Western Cape, to provide young people with more training on driving safely and responsibly, as well as ensuring optimal knowledge and maintenance of their cars and tyres.

“Recollection of skills learned in driver training is governed by the hippocampus in the temporal lobe of the brain which is associated with learning and memory. Young drivers who have never learned or who have forgotten core driving skills arguably need a refresher course to prompt their memories and make them more confident drivers.”


Antoinette Hurter, VWDA managing member, said bad habits had been allowed to develop among South African drivers.

“You need to start with the basics. In my opinion, driver training is nowhere close to international standards and the K53 testing system is inconsistent across the country. Just because you have not had an accident does not mean you are a good driver! I am often shocked when licensed drivers have their skills evaluated by our instructors.

“Our standards are very strict and we force corporate clients to come back to renew their certificates every two years. Sadly, many big companies do not insist on screening their employees’ driving or medical levels before they get into a company vehicle.

“VWDA also addresses specific South African road situations. Our hi-jack prevention programme boosts security awareness on the road and equips people to handle such situations. We are soon to launch our first night driving course, too, which teaches emergency manoeuvres and other safe driving techniques in the dark.

"We won’t take our clients out on the road at night though – it’s too dangerous – so training will take place on our track and skid pans at Kyalami.”

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  • Robert Starke - 2013-06-12 07:48

    R600 buys you a licence - that is why we have such carnage on our roads. Corruption is rife and until this is stopped, no scheme, training, or government plan will work. First you need to get the rotten core out !!

      Maartins Siphiso - 2013-06-12 08:04

      I Agree 100%

      Nicholas Van Graan - 2013-06-12 08:27

      We need a "recent study" to tell us this??? It has been the talk of the town for the last ten years!! Next we will be hearing about the latest stats telling us that taxi drivers have developed a bad habit of using the emergency lanes and generally breaking all the rules of the road! Thanks for the laugh!

      Regte Boer - 2013-06-12 08:59

      Agree with Nyati. You need a zero tolerance approach but it does not help if traffic cops can be bribed with KFC money. The rot has set in very deep and will need a miracle to be sorted out...

      Bayete Nkosi - 2013-06-12 12:48

      In 32 years of having a drivers licence, I have only been stopped ONCE at a roadblock to check for "drunk" driving? Seen a few thousand speed traps in all this years though..... The conclusion must therefore be that speed is about 10 000+ times more likely to cause a accident than driving under the influence? Not? So why is the system weighed towards money collection instead of real road safety? Before there is a real political will to address the root of the problems (studies have shown the major causes accidents, its there for all to see) instead of money collection, the problem will remain...

  • Mbuso Siera - 2013-06-12 07:57

    what do u expect people buy their drivers licence,even if you a foreigner, home affairs sells them id books, the traffic departments sells them drivers licences and the department of education sells them matric certificates...

  • Maartins Siphiso - 2013-06-12 08:03

    Most drivers, experienced & inexperienced don't know the basic, fundamental rule of the road. - KEEP LEFT.

      Regte Boer - 2013-06-12 09:00

      Especially when there is a solid white line.

  • sikhumbuzok - 2013-06-12 08:12

    Many factors contribute to increasing road deaths. Its easy to blame Govt/authority as everyone is doing. However its a catalogue of reasons which IMHO is primarily: 1. Corruption - driver and traffic authority 2. Poor vehicle maintenance - lack of govt enforcement (no checks on cars during licence disc renewal) and owners of car 3. Drinking and driving - purely a driver issue 4. Poor road maintenance - many accidents are caused by poorly maintained and constructed roads. The list can go on and on. But Govt / traffic authorities and drivers are equally to blame in most instances.

  • Jaco Joubert - 2013-06-12 08:25

    The root cause of this problem is the fact that apart from the odd speeding fine; there is virtually no law enforcement on our roads what so ever - just about everybody do as they please and to hell with the consequence for other road users.

      Regte Boer - 2013-06-12 09:03

      Everytime I take a road trip I pray that I will get my family there safely. Like you say there is no law peresence on the roads to deter the solid line overtakers and when they do get caught they bribe their way out.

      Om Nom Nom - 2013-06-12 10:08

      Regte Boer... http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=273617012783020&set=a.115377788606944.25632.100004041715871&type=3&theater

      Regte Boer - 2013-06-12 13:26

      No wonder. This is the example set...

  • Tyrone Grobbelaar - 2013-06-12 08:58

    I remember the day I received my driving licence. There was another woman learner on the yard test just before me. She knocked a pole in the bay parking, she bowled over a pole during the parallel park and took over 10 minutes and many turns to make it. But the officer still moverd her to road test. I still remember her in line waiting to receive her licence that day. I was shocked.

      Champ SePa - 2013-06-12 11:03

      What was she wearing /not wearing?

      Sizwe Valashiya - 2013-06-12 16:22

      Who did you report this to?

  • Charles Gaertz - 2013-06-12 09:00

    Get the cops to monitor robots in Katherine street. All, not just some, taxis totally ignore red robots and blow hooter at you if you stop at a red robot.

  • Xexo - 2013-06-12 09:02

    That would not be a problem if people could obtain their licenses legally... I know many people, my wife included, that drive perfectly but keep getting failed at the test because they will not give the person giving the test a "gift"....

  • Lindy Jeffery - 2013-06-12 09:06

    Hellooooooo! Tell us something we dont know!!!

  • Brutus Roy - 2013-06-12 10:04

    Here comes another money making racket. Training is not the problem, visible policing is non existant, and when it is done, it is done to collect bribes.

  • Sean Goldie - 2013-06-12 10:11

    K53 what a useless waste of time....whoever devised that system was surely smoking ganja at the time....as for speeding up at orange robots...it is to ensure that the taxi behind you does not go through you to get through the intersection....and the same would apply to weaving through the traffic....taxi's..taxi's..taxi's....what the hell...blame it on apartheid....

  • Alan Davis - 2013-06-12 10:58

    It's not bad driving habits - they take time to acquire, but more like drive like a taxi driver. Why? Reason : if they can get away with it, lets do what they do! Why not? The cops are not doing too much about them, are they?

  • Tawizee - 2013-06-12 12:03

    I am also starting to learn to drive like a taxi driver. If I don't the other drivers give me hell. If I observe speed limit (say 40km/h), the guy behind me hoots at me. If I stop at an amber robot, the taxis behind me hits me.

  • Gaylord TheAtheist - 2013-06-12 12:05

    Cops sitting on their asses while 200 m up the road, the cars are skipping the robots, but they want to trap you driving 71 in n f@#$ing 60 zone. What the hell is more dangerous, 71 per hour or the cars (read taxi) skipping or not even stopping at the red robot!?

  • chrisX - 2013-06-12 12:25

    Passing the K53 does NOT mean you can drive, took me 3-4 years of daily driving after passing my test before I could even begin to call myself a safe driver. The problem with our death toll comes down to driver attitude, people drive aggressively and behave like the road belongs to them. Hogging the right hand lane at 120km/h is JUST AS BAD as weaving, tailgating or driving drunk. Let people in when they indicate, move over for faster traffic double check blind spots and maintain a speed that's safe for the conditions at the time. It's not rocket science people!

  • Just Me - 2013-06-12 13:03

    Chrisx, as far as what I'm concerned about, driving at kph120 in the fast lane was legal the last time i looked. It is impatient drivers like you that would make a comment like this. I do admit that there are drivers hoging the fast lane at kph100kph and it is those drivers that need to be removed to the old age home. He'll,you even get om idiots driving at kph80kph in the fast lane here in Cape Town and forget about them getting out of the way.

      chrisX - 2013-06-12 15:52

      You're missing the point. The FIRST rule of the road is: keep left, pass right, doesn't matter what speed you're going. If someone comes up behind you, you move over.Hogging the right lane is what makes the speed freaks weave all over the place making the road more dangerous for everyone else. You're not a traffic cop, slowing speeders down is not your job! Keep left, pass right!

  • Raymond Van Den Brink - 2013-06-12 18:00

    Lets start. Overloaded taxi's. Unroadworthy taxi's. Cheap imported, below stantard tyres, Re-grooving of tyres etc,etc.......

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