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Are Volkswagen Polo drivers really the most dangerous? It’s not clear cut ...

File picture: Danie van der Lith.

File picture: Danie van der Lith.

Published Feb 2, 2022

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Johannesburg - Volkswagen Polo drivers have been in the spotlight following the release of a study by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) last week, which concluded that Volkswagen Polos were involved in the most fatal crashes, followed closely by the Toyota Hilux and Toyota Quantum.

However, these stats need to be considered in the context that the Hilux and Polo are actually the most popular vehicles in South Africa. Toyota sold 36 085 Hilux bakkies last year, while the Volkswagen Polo and Polo Vivo models achieved a combined figure of 39 799.

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“Polo drivers are considered the most dangerous on the road because they are involved in more accidents than other vehicles. What this study does not note, and which can affect findings, is that Polos are one of the most common cars on our roads. Additionally, many of the vehicles in the top ten of the study fall into the most commonly driven vehicles in South Africa,” said Eugene Herbert, chief executive of advanced driving school MasterDrive.

THE Volkswagen Polo Vivo was South Africa’s most popular passenger car last year.

“The study doesn’t state whether this contingency was considered in the results. If it was not accounted for, it can only be expected that more of these vehicles will be involved in crashes compared to other vehicles,” Herbert added.

“Many variables can affect why certain cars are in more crashes. The condition of the roads is a variable that cannot be ruled out as having an effect on the results. Additionally, certain types of vehicles may attract certain types of drivers, that do not necessarily reflect their driving ability. An example is the tendency to modify a Polo or the younger drivers that these vehicles appeal to,” said Herbert.

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The RTMC study analysed fatal crash data from October 1, 2017, to June 30, 2021. It found that a total of 48 330 vehicles were involved in 37 583 fatal crashes, resulting in 45 232 deaths. Collectively the Polo, Hilux and Quantum were involved in 43.2% of fatal crashes. The Polo alone contributed 16.7%, but it was closely followed by the Hilux (14.2%) and Quantum (12.2%).

The RTMC said the three aforementioned vehicles also accounted for the highest number of speeding fines issued within the major metros.

“A total of 35% of speed infringement fines were issued to these three vehicle models in the period under review, even though they constituted 33% of the total vehicle population,” the RTMC said.

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“The high number of speed infringements committed by public transport type of vehicles, such as the Toyota Quantum, is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” said the RTMC.

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