Discovery Insure: Who are South Africa’s best drivers?

10 July 2014 Anton Ossip, Discovery
Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip.

Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip.

South Africa’s best drivers are to be found in the Western Cape, with Gauteng ranked second overall, according to data from Discovery Insure’s road safety smartphone application. During June, the first month of the campaign 16.8 million kilometres of driving data was collected and analysed by Discovery Insure.

Over 36 000 people have downloaded the smartphone app to receive real-time feedback on their driving and score themselves against family and friends in the Discovery Insure Driver Challenge. Consumers receive detailed feedback after each trip, with information on harsh braking and cornering, distracted driving (such as mobile usage while driving e.g. texting) and speeding, as measured by their smartphone’s built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS. They are assigned a score between 0 and 100 and are ranked on a leaderboard which scores them against friends and the broader public.

Although some 70% of users are male, women tend to be better drivers. Women are better drivers than men, but also record more harsh braking events and higher levels of cell phone usage while driving. Men lose significant points on speeding and cornering.

Users with scores of less than 50 improved on average by 20% over the next two days. High-scoring drivers (70 or higher) improved on average by 7% over the same period. Ten percent of drivers improved their score by at least 10 points after the first day. Most users – 70% - were aged between 18 and 40. Average scores for both men and women improved with age. The research indicates that drivers with the highest driver scores have 15% to 25% fewer accidents and those with below average scores have 25% to 80% more accidents.

“We’re heartened by the great response thus far, which shows that South Africans are passionate about making a positive difference in their driving behaviour. We’re particularly pleased that most users were able to improve their driving scores within a short space of time, which shows that if people are willing to improve their driving behaviour if offered the tools on how to improve to make a real difference to road safety,” said Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip.

South Africa has a relatively poor road safety record, with over 14 000 fatalities every year. Research shows that over 90% of car accidents and motor vehicles are caused by the driver. By combining mobile technology and behavioural economics, the app, a global first, can improve driving standards and road safety in South Africa. The app is the most robust and scientific analysis of driving behaviour in South Africa to date.

Drivers who use their cellphones while on the road record an average of 52 seconds of distracted driving per trip – the equivalent of one kilometre driving blind at 60 km/h. Western Cape drivers used their cellphones the least, while Limpopo drivers used them the most.

Best drivers by province

1. Western Cape
2. Gauteng
3. Eastern Cape
4. North West
5. Free State
6. Northern Cape
7. KwaZulu-Natal
8. Mpumalanga
9. Limpopo

The Discovery Insure Driver Challenge, which runs from 1 June 2014 to 31 August 2014, includes weekly draws for a share in BP petrol vouchers worth R1 million and the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip for four to the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Discovery Insure app is available as a free download from the App Store for iOS and the Play Store for Android, for both Discovery Insure and non-Discovery Insure clients.

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