Action, awareness, and innovation are needed to solve SA’s high road accident average

04 September 2016 Discovery
Anton Ossip, CEO, Discovery Insure

Anton Ossip, CEO, Discovery Insure

Action, awareness, and innovation are needed to solve SA’s high road accident average 

  • South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world with one of the highest road accident rates
  •  Action, awareness and innovation can help solve our national problem
  •  New television campaign highlights how technology is used today to help drivers be safer on the road

South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world with 23.5 fatalities 100 000 people, compared to 2.97 in the UK. Deaths by road accidents are high on our government’s agenda and one of the goals of the National Development Plan is to reduce our national average in order to improve the quality of life for all South Africans.

The reasons for our high road accident average are time and again debated, as is the solution. Human behaviour is often the root cause – speeding, harsh braking, driving a vehicle that is not roadworthy, drunk driving and exhaustion are all factors that add to our national problem.

Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure explains that if we can change our behaviour on the roads, we can reduce our fatality rate drastically. Insure’s driver-behaviour programme, Vitalitydrive, aims to achieve exactly this.

“Discovery Insure is passionate about helping South Africans be safer on our roads. We think that with the correct incentives, people can take action and change how they drive, making them safer over the long term. But when they do find themselves in an accident, we are able to apply technology an innovative way to give our clients added safety and peace of mind. We also need South Africans to be aware of the risks and to not overestimate how well they drive.”

Using a real-life incident to explain its technology in action as experienced by a well-loved South African, Discovery Insure today launched a television advertising campaign that emphasises the importance of being prepared when on the road. Through this campaign, Discovery Insure hopes to raise awareness around road safety among a wide audience.

Miss South Africa 2015, Liesl Laurie was involved in a serious car accident in April this year, and credits Discovery Insure’s unique safety features for the quick arrival of emergency personnel on the scene.

“The car behind me forced me under a bus and there was smoke everywhere. I tried to get out but both doors were jammed. The force of my accident alerted Discovery Insure and they immediately sent help,” said Laurie.

The impact of the crash immediately activated Discovery Insure’s ImpactAlert function. This unique safety function, enabled by Discovery Insure’s car tracking technology, alerted the insurer that Laurie’s car had a serious impact. Using the last location through her car’s GPS signal, and linking up with emergency services and Discovery Health, emergency personnel were immediately dispatched. Laurie was assisted and received the necessary medical attention. Liesl made it home safely that night.

Laurie sees this campaign as a chance for her to highlight the importance of being prepared on the road and to place the spotlight on road safety in general. She also realises that parents are more at risk, as they often have children with them.

“I hope my story will actively and positively influence people to think not only about safe driving behaviour, but also about the importance of being prepared. Being prepared means understanding what your insurer offers you in terms of safety and asking the right questions. Technology is evolving every day and the policies we buy from our insurers should use this to our advantage.”.” Laurie said.

How the technology works

Even though it isn’t possible to control the behaviour of other road users, Discovery Insure offers technology that gives drivers piece of mind knowing that their lives are a little bit safer if something were to happen while driving. One such piece of technology is ImpactAlert.

In the event of an accident, the Vitalitydrive Sensor installed in the client’s vehicle activates ImpactAlert. The driver’s car is then monitored to see if it continues driving. If it remains stationary, Discovery Insure makes a call to find out if help is needed. If they are unable to reach the client, they immediately send emergency assistance to the last known location of the vehicle.

“While many of us believe we are great drivers and buy vehicles with safety features, this does not take into account that we are not the only drivers on our roads. We live in a digital age and are using innovative technology to offer peace of mind for people to be prepared in any situation that could make them vulnerable. Because of this technology, Liesl made it home that night,” said Discovery Insure CEO, Anton Ossip.  

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