Discovery Vitality has just released its Road to a Healthier South Africa report, which makes a strong link between South Africans’ physical activity levels and their ability to drive safely.
BusinessTech.co.za report Discovery studies the driving behaviour of over half a million Vitality members in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria to come to these conlusions.
“There are two main behaviours causing significant illness and deaths among South Africans. One, how we drive. Two, how much we move. The statistics are staggering,” said head of Vitality Wellness, Dr Craig Nossel.
“More than 5 million deaths could be avoided each year if people moved regularly. More than 1.25 million people die in road accidents every year – that’s 3,425 people a day. Added to this, between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, and many become disabled. But, we can improve these statistics,” he said.
“We need to start by understanding this behaviour better and creating an environment that encourages healthier lifestyles and better driving. We aim to do just that over the next 10 weeks with Vitality Open – by making Vitality Active Rewards available to all South Africans for the first time.”
According to the report, we are getting lazier and more reckless the world over with an increase in both sedentary behaviour and poor driving.
The carnage on South African roads is well known to us all, said Prof Sebastian van As, head of the trauma unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. “The Road Traffic Management Corporation reports that, over 2016, a total of 14,071 people died on SA’s roads, a figure 9% up from 2015.
“This is the highest annual road death toll since 2007 – when 14,920 people died. Easter road fatalities spiked by 51% between 2016 and 2017. In 2015 alone, road traffic crashes cost our economy R178 billion,” he said.
From data collected over 2016, 2017 and 2018, Discovery Vitality’s report found that Cape Town fares the best in driving behaviour across the major metropolitan cities.
When it comes to better driving, Durban fares the worst nationally – with their driving behaviour measuring 11% below the winning city, Cape Town. Cape Town is followed in order by Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria.