Discovery drivers are improving SA's road stats


South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with almost 90% of accidents caused by bad driving. But Discovery drivers are improving these stats, one behaviour change at a time.

What is the cost of bad driving? In 2015 alone, it's estimated that road traffic collisions cost the South African economy R143 billion, which today can be predicted as over R178 billion.

Vitality Drive, Discovery Insure's unique driver behaviour programme that rewards clients for driving well, is proving to not only save clients' money, but is also having an impact on South African society. Through the Vitality Drive programme, data shows that if all South African drivers were Gold and Diamond status drivers, there would be a predicted reduction of between 70% to 90% in accident frequency and severity.

"This reduction in accident frequency and severity means that having safer drivers would save the economy annually between R120 billion and R155 billion," says Anton Ossip, Discovery Insure's Chief Executive Officer. "This saving lowers the proportional spend on GDP from 3.26% to between 0.98% and 0.33%, which has an impactful financial and healthcare cost saving while also benefitting society as a whole. The saving could be deployed elsewhere in the economy.”

Devastating road accidents are avoidable if more people drive better

The Road Traffic Management Corporation reports that a total of 14 071 people died on South African roads in 2016, 9% more than the previous year. It was also the highest annual road death toll since 2007, when 14 920 people died.

"Car accidents are the largest contributor to unnatural childhood deaths," says Professor Sebastian van As at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town. Van As is the Head of the Trauma Unit, which treats almost 10 000 children annually. The numbers are grim - and there's no doubt that the huge majority of these devastating accidents could have been avoided if people drove better.

Professor van As believes that individual drivers have the power to make South African roads safer - one change at a time. He describes the Western Cape's Safe Travel to School programme as a highly successful initiative that helps to prevent needless child fatalities. The programme was launched in 2014 by Discovery in partnership with ChildSafe, and it incentivises drivers who transport school children to drive more carefully.

"The stats clearly show that rewarding these drivers for driving better has seen a dramatic improvement in their driving. We've recorded 87% less harsh accelerations, 92% less harsh cornering, 25% less harsh braking incidents and 25% less speeding than other Cape Town drivers," says Ossip.

"All these safer driving behaviours compound, and the overall result is that regular drivers are developing and cementing better driving habits that undoubtedly save lives."

Discovery's best drivers have 63% less accidents than their worst

Discovery Insure aims to create a nation of great drivers and safer roads, says Ossip, who believes that incentivising good driving behaviour is a major motivator for achieving both of these goals.

"Our data shows that since its launch, there's been a 41% reduction in the number of harsh driving events for drivers who earn Vitality Active Rewards for driving well each week, with our best drivers having 63% less accidents – and 77% less severe accidents – than our worst drivers."

Social accountability can help you drive more safely

In 2014 and 2015, the Discovery Insure Driving Challenge gave members the opportunity to participate as part of a group of family and friends. The bigger the group, the more the driving score improved – from 7% where the driver was not part of a group, to 14% where there were five drivers. This clearly demonstrates the positive effects of group activity.

The Vitality Drive programme has proven to be so effective that Rory Byrne, a former Chief Designer for Ferrari Formula One and Advisor to Discovery Insure said, "I am confident that if you extended the Vitality Drive programme to every driver in the country, you'd have a noticeable and consistent reduction in accidents."

Enjoy getting active in a variety of ways with Vitality

Walk, run, cycle, swim, golf, race ... Vitality offers you many ways to get fit. Join a health club, link a fitness device to track your activity, take part in race events and join Team Vitality, our running and cycling club.

Like to hit the gym? Save up to 75% on your monthly gym fees and boost your savings up to a 100% with Vitality Active Rewards Gym Booster, or head outdoor and earn points for walks and runs. Learn more here.

Earn weekly rewards for driving well

Vitality Drive Active Rewards is a unique programme that allows you to earn weekly rewards – like a coffee, smoothie, popcorn, airtime or discounted car wash - for driving event-free for 100 consecutive kilometres. Active Rewards is available to all Vitality Drive clients. Learn more about this exciting benefit here.

Discovery Insure's Impact Alert sends help when you need it most

Wish you had the technology to call for help when you most need it? Discovery Insure's Impact Alert feature can detect when you've been in an accident. If we can't get hold of you immediately, we’ll send emergency assistance to your location, while our Vehicle panic button can be used to alert emergency services when you’re in your car and need help.

Rely on Discovery Insure when it counts: Find out more about this benefit here.

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South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with almost 90% of accidents caused by bad driving. Discovery drivers are improving these stats, one behaviour change at a time.

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