Seven out of ten vehicles on South African roads are uninsured

Seventy percent of vehicles on South African roads are not insured, and due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this statistic could currently be closer to eighty percent, according to most of the bigger short term insurance companies.

This should be a warning sign for any road user, says Alma Darlington, Chief Executive Officer at Excel Recovery Services. “It is in general dangerous to drive on South African roads, with most accidents caused by distractions, drunk driving, speeding and poor road conditions.

“Imagine being on the road with the knowledge that only three out of ten of the vehicles around you have insurance. Due to various reasons, you may even be one of the vehicles not insured. The financial impact of being involved in an accident is huge, and you are lucky if you are involved in an accident and the other vehicle is insured, as you might be able to claim from the insurance of the other vehicle if they were the more negligent party.

“If the other vehicle is not insured and you are not able to claim from their insurance you will be liable for your own

damage and, if you caused the accident, you will also be liable for the other vehicle’s damage, says Darlington.”

Most people in this situation believes the only option available is making use of litigation, which could be a costly exercise. However, there are other options to be considered, such as the Small Claims court, which is limited to a claim of R20 000, or a Third-Party Recovery agent. Third-Party Recovery agents usually work on risk, which means that these companies take a commission from the amount recovered from the liable party, if successful.

Darlington says that road accidents in South Africa are generally caused by distractions, drunk driving, speeding and reckless driving, J-walking, weather conditions, poor road conditions and vehicle faults.

  • Distractions. Not focusing on the road while driving

This includes using a cell phone while driving. About 2/3 of accidents that occur due to distraction happened due to the driver being busy on his/her cell phone. Drivers have a 37 percent reduction in the parietal lobe (the part of the brain which processes sensory information from the outside world) while being active on a cell phone while driving. Drivers are four times more likely to have an accident while on a phone.

  • Drunk driving

Alcohol abuse contributes to around 65 percent of all deaths and injuries during motor vehicle accidents on South African roads. This is according to the WHO publication of 2013. According to AriveAlive, research indicates that around 50 percent of people who died on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05gram per 100 millilitres.

  • Speeding & Reckless driving

Disregarding traffic rules and regulations, disregard of traffic rules and regulations, speeding through red traffic lights, overtaking on solid white lines is part of everyday life when driving on South African roads, but this situation adds to the statistics of road accidents.

When driving at a speed of 80km/h, it will take a normal motor vehicle around 4.6 seconds to come to a complete standstill. This amounts to about 80m, which is the length of a rugby field.

  • J-walking

Pedestrians crossing roads close to informal settlements, and not making use of dedicated pedestrian crossings, cause a dangerous situation to drivers.

  • Weather

Although South Africa does not have regular extreme weather like snowstorms or frozen roads, weather conditions play a role in accidents, especially during the rainy season.

  • Poor road conditions

Poor road conditions contribute hugely to accidents. Especially where motorists try to avoid potholes and enter the lane of oncoming traffic.

  • Vehicle faults

A huge number of vehicles on South African roads are not road worthy. This includes heavy commercial vehicles where brakes and tyres are not properly maintained, causing horrendous accidents. This is not only limited to faulty vehicles but also drivers who are not legally licensed but are in control of a motor vehicle or even worse a heavy commercial vehicle.

For more information about third-party recoveries contact our offices on 086 111 3826 and ask for Maritsa  Oosthuizen or visit our website on