Matrix raises red flag on distracted driving this holiday season
Today, ahead of the 2018 Easter holiday season, Matrix – a brand by
MiX Telematics – is raising awareness around distracted and irresponsible driving
habits demonstrated by South African motorists, through their Distracted Driving
Survey. The survey, launched in February, was completed by over 400 respondents and
set out to gather information about the most common driving behaviours amongst South
African motorists. The results have highlighted some worrying statistics and
Distracted driving is a large concern globally, with the advent of instant access to
technology while on the go. If we look at the number of accidents on South African
roads daily and specifically over busy holiday periods – such as the Easter one
approaching us – it is clear that there is a much larger problem here.
One of the most prominent insights was that over 82% of respondents indicated that
they have received up to 2 traffic fines in the last 6 months, with 53% of these
issued for speeding, skipping a traffic light or talking on the phone. However,
interestingly, 47% of motorists indicated that they rarely drive over the speed
limit – only doing so in the event of an emergency – while 27% indicated that they
drive over the speed limit 80% of the time.
This is indicative that while speeding is still a profound concern, there is more to
worry about than merely speeding. Other distractions that respondents admitted to
doing, such as changing the radio station or searching for one (52%), eating and
drinking (32%), and most importantly, texting/calling or checking social media while
driving (22%), are playing a fundamental role in the safety of all road users –
drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – especially where these are undertaken at least
once a day by 25% of respondents.
Other prominent distracted driving acts that motorists undertook includes applying
make-up, doing hair and checking GPS/navigation devices.
When asking respondents whether they braked harshly often and, if so, why – it was
identified that 70% of drivers stopped suddenly due to the car in front of them
stopping, where 25% was a result of distracted or reckless driving. However, what is
very interesting to note is that driving style is very dependent on the mood and
temperament of each driver. When asked what type of driver they consider themselves
to be, 44% of motorists indicate that they drive according to their mood – if they
are angry, they will be more aggressive and possibly drive over the speed limit – if
calm, they will remain within the speed limit and drive more carefully.
Driving style is something that each driver should be acutely aware of, if we are to
reduce bad driving habits and improve road safety. With the help of innovative
technology, like vehicle tracking apps, drivers can actively track and monitor their
driving style which could, in turn, reduce not only maintenance on their vehicle and
save them on fuel, but it could also result in reduced insurance premiums and – most
importantly – in becoming advocates for safe driving and road usage.
The survey further indicated that most consumers (75%) know they can use their
tracking device to track and monitor such behaviour and save on premiums (80% of
consumers understand this).
It is certainly comforting that 80% of consumers indicated that they would monitor
their driving style with a tracking device if they had one. The challenge today
however, is encouraging people to take this seriously – to understand the impact of
both bad and distracted driving, and to drive positive change within the road safety
As we head towards the Easter holidays, Matrix would like to encourage drivers to
stay focused on the road, let your passengers play DJ, take regular breaks to fight
fatigue, let your partner check your messages or Google the closest B&B and make
sure that you are abiding by the rules of the road. Check your driving statistics
via your tracking app to keep your driving in check and contribute to safer roads.
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