The frequency of road accidents in South Africa is nothing short of terrifying. Statistics released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) indicate that the death toll from road accidents was 1,184 people in the month of December 2013 alone. KwaZulu Natal tops the list of fatalities, with 205 deaths over that period, while Gauteng and the Eastern Cape witnessed 156 and 136 deaths respectively – all in the space of 30 days.
In total, about 10,000 people are killed every year in South African road accidents. These figures, together with other survey results, indicate that South Africa’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world, for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Head-on collision near Centurion, Gauteng [source]
The maximum number of deaths on one road, at 14 people, was recorded by the police between Klerksdorp and Wolmaransstad, North West. There were 9 deaths between Middleburg and Groblersdal in Limpopo. Statistics indicate an alarming trend, with accidents increasingly taking place on alternative roads that motorists use in order to evade toll payment. Reasons listed for road accidents include overtaking and speeding – and of course alcohol. Close to a thousand people were arrested for driving under the influence or driving recklessly in December 2013.
Funds for road accident victims
What with these worrying statistics about the lack of safety on South African roads, it would be surprising if you weren’t at all worried about the safety of yourself, your friends or your family. It’s good to know that if you or a family member is injured, or a family member dies as a result of a road accident, you may qualify for money from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). In South Africa, the RAF raises public funds through a levy on the price of petrol and diesel. It then pays compensation to victims of road accidents, including cover for medical expenses and funds to support families of the deceased. You can claim compensation even if you didn’t have car insurance at the time of a road accident.
Who’s eligible for RAF compensation?
You can claim compensation from the RAF for medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering if you sustained injuries in a road accident, provided you weren’t responsible for the accident. This applies whether you were a driver, passenger or pedestrian at the time of the accident.
You can also claim RAF compensation if a member of your family was killed in a road accident, including compensation for funeral expenses.
While the RAF can’t change the horrific outcomes of everyday tragedies on South African roads, its channelling of funds to accident victims has had a positive impact on many people’s lives.