RAF cautions youth to adhere to road safety rules

Published Jul 1, 2024


The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has expressed concern after youth made up 44% with claims in 2020 to 2022.

Sunday, June 30, marked the last day of Youth Month. RAF said it wants to remind young people that road safety rules should be adhered to throughout the year.

RAF said this figure is a startling reminder that the youth will have to change their behaviour when utilising the roads.

During the same period, the RAF paid R43.13 billion for injury benefits to young accident survivors between the ages of 15 and 34.

That is an average of R14.37bn per year. Additionally, a total of R2.86bn was paid over the same period for death-related benefits, at an average of R956 million per year.

RAF said the youth, often characterised by high levels of mobility and risk-taking behaviour, are unfortunately overly represented in road accident statistics. The fund said it observed that the average number of youth-related claims registered per year across the three-year period was 21 475. The average amount per youth-related claim was R2,568,595 over the same period.

Furthermore, 63% of claims registered over this period were for males, 36% were for females, and 1% unknown.

Recently, the institution reported that the estimated number of young people that died on South African roads was 13 963 out of 34 946 fatalities. This translates to an annual average of 4 654 fatalities in the age group 15 to 34 compared to the total average of 11 649.

The institution said most young road users that died in this period were pedestrians at 38%, followed by passengers at 35%.

“We are deeply concerned by the high number of claims from young people. These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need for young people and all road users to change their behaviour and prioritise road safety. We must instil a culture of safe driving and responsible road use,” said RAF chief executive, Collins Letsoalo.

He said the installation has several targeted road safety education and awareness campaigns aimed at the youth.

Letsoalo said a comprehensive Road Safety Programme for learners and youth was launched in 2023 among other education and awareness programmes, community engagements, and collaborations with Transport Department.

Letsoalo said most road accidents occur during the night, an even greater threat in winter when the nights are longer. Letsoalo said the installation urges all road users to adhere to the rules of the road and avoid risky behaviours.

Risky behaviours include wearing dark clothes when using the road after sunset, texting and walking, texting and driving, and using headphones while on the road.

Letsoalo said RAF injury benefits that road crash survivors can claim for are loss of earnings, general damages, past medical expenses, and future medical expenses.

Death benefits cover funeral expenses and loss of support for the deceased and their families.

In the unfortunate event of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, the RAF contact centre is reachable on 087 820 1 111, from Monday to Friday, 7.45am to 4pm.