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Learner Safety Pilot Project Leads to Safer Driving Habits

Press release -

Learner Safety Pilot Project Leads to Safer Driving Habits

Discovery Childsafe SA Safe Travel to School Programme Improves Driver Behaviour in Cape Town

Cape Town – Discovery and Childsafe SA today revealed findings of a road safety pilot study conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC) at a roundtable discussion in the Western Cape. The Safe Travel to School programme pilot targeted 75 learner transporters with the aim of improving knowledge and awareness of their driving behaviour to ensure safer commuting to school. The study found that drivers on the programme improved their driving behaviour significantly compared to the general driving population of Cape Town.

Discovery Insure CEO, Anton Ossip says the findings demonstrate that business today can create shared value by solvingreal problems through technology. “People behave rationally and adapt their behaviour if they are presented with useful information and meaningful rewards for doing so,” he adds. Discovery Insure used its incentive programme, Vitalitydrive, in the pilot as an intervention to help the drivers drive children safely. The programme uses the DQ Track device to monitor driving behaviour; provides feedback; and enables the insurer to reward drivers fortheir improvement.

The engaged drivers who improved their driving behaviour had 87 percent fewer harsh acceleration events, 92 percent fewer harsh cornering events, 25 percent fewer harsh braking incidents, and 25 percent fewer speeding occurrences compared to less engaged Discovery Insure clients driving behaviour in the Cape Town area. This safer driving behaviour translated into measurable safety benefits to the target community, especially learners.

Ruth Lewin, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Discovery says the pilot has shown that public-private collaborations continue to make a significant difference, in this case, tackling South Africa’s high road accident rate. “With this project, we aim to make South Africa’s roads safer for children when travelling to school every day by improving and increasing road safety knowledge through driver education, and both improvement and provision of safety tools and features.”

In more than 1.5 million kilometres of data collected during the past year, key findings further revealed that:

The project has seen 27 percent of drivers scoring perfectly from their first day of participation.

In recent months, the scores have improved to average 37 percent.

Overall, 87.7 percent scored above average in driving safety, with the remaining scoring in the high risk category.

In contrast, high risk drivers on the pilot had 9 times more harsh accelerations events, 5 times more harsh braking events, 28 times more harsh cornering events, and speeding 3 times more often.

The pilot was the first phase of a gradual implementation of a growing project and a collaboration between Discovery and Childsafe SA to keep children safe despite the high death toll in the roads they travel on. It was launched in January 2014 with the study conducted by a team from the MRC led by expert, Professor Ashley van Niekerk, Senior SpecialistScientist and Manager at Unisa-MRC Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit. “Overall, learner transport drivers have lower acceleration, braking, and cornering. The majority of them performed well, but with significant age related differences,” says Van Niekerk.

Due to the significant success of the pilot study in Cape Town, the project is planned for expansion in 2015 to the greater Western Cape, the City of Johannesburg, with the aim of rolling it out nationally.

Discovery and Childsafe SA collaboration was driven by the increased and highlighted multiple road deaths that occurred in Cape Town and the trauma they left behind. Road accidents have a massive burden on society and economies. With one of the most dangerous roads worldwide, South Africa has 32 deaths per 100 000 compared to the USA’s 12 per 100 000. “South Africa’s road carnage cost the economy an estimated R300 billion, more than half of the public health sector health spend,” adds Themba Baloyi, Discovery Insure Executive Director.

“The uniqueness of this project is its partnership which draws capacity from across industry involving an NGO, business, government, a hospital, and the community,” says Professor Sebastian van As, management member of Childsafe SA. “Traffic safety requires participation of all and this is the first project to involve school bus drivers and they are committed to the cause. The result has been improvement in driving children to school safely.”

The project ensured that all participating drivers have the necessary permits and licences and that the vehicles are all roadworthy. It has made it convenient to conduct roadworthy tests on the drivers, provide first aid and defensive driving training, eye tests, supplying eye glasses, polarised sunglasses, tyres, lap belts, fire extinguishers, jacks and triangles.

The roundtable discussion was followed by an awards celebration at which the top performing drivers on the Discovery Childsafe SA Safe Travel to School programme were recognised. The winners are:

Best Driver Category


Mr Linda Mpani

Second place:

Mr William Lottering

Most improved driver category


Mr Knosiyoxolo Sondlo

The Discovery Childsafe SA initiative was made possible through contributions from partners in particular; CTrack, Tiger Wheel and Tyre and Essilor.


Discovery information

About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation, Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 4.4 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore and Australia. Discovery recently announced an intent to partner with Generali, a leading insurer in Europe, and has partnered John Hancock in the US. These new partnerships will bring Discovery’s shared-value business model to protection industries in Europe and the US.

Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives in five markets.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider and trades under the code “DSY” on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. 

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