Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your ability to make decisions behind the wheel. File picture: Dumisani Dube / Independent Media.
Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your ability to make decisions behind the wheel. File picture: Dumisani Dube / Independent Media.

SA leads world in drink-drive deaths

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Dec 3, 2015

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Johannesburg - South Africa has a higher percentage of alcohol-related road deaths than any other country in the world, according to the World Health Organisation's 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety.

An alarming 58 percent of road deaths in the country involve alcohol consumption, according to the report, by far the highest among the 95 countries that have data linking alcohol and road deaths. By comparison, booze-related road deaths stand at 31 percent in the USA, 27 percent in Argentina, 30 percent in Australia, 16 percent in the UK, 10 percent in Botswana and five percent in India.

The WHO estimates that there are 13 273 road deaths a year in South Africa, of which 33 percent are pedestrians, 29 percent drivers and 38 percent passengers.

The 2015 report also shows that SA’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with 25.1 deaths per 100 000 people. The world average is 17.4, while Europe is the lowest at 9.3.

The organisation also noted that the road death rates in lower-income countries are almost double those in high-income countries. Younger motorists also carry a disproportionate risk, as the report notes: “Globally, road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death among young people, and the main cause of death among those aged 15-29 years”.

Yet booze remains of incredibly high concern in the South African context and authorities are going to have their hands full enforcing the blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml as the holidays begin.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the festive season is associated with “great increases in the numbers of people” travelling on roads. “Alcohol and roads don't mix. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your ability to make decisions, operate a vehicle or walk safely near traffic, whether you are driving, walking or riding a motorbike or bicycle. If you're drinking, don't drive,” he warned.

Sources: Cape Times, SAIA, WHO

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