Every year about 18 000 South Africans die and about 150 000 are injured in motor vehicle accidents. Alcohol is a factor in about 50% of the cases. 2013 statistics show that death by drunk drivers has now increased to nearly 12 000 deaths annually. The good news is that short term insurers and even banks are now offering you drive-home assistance benefits.
Bradley Du Chenne, a senior executive of Dial Direct Insurance, says people drive after they have been drinking for various reasons such as:
- the high cost or inaccessibility of taxi services.
- unwillingness to be the designated driver for fear of not having as much fun without alcohol.
- poor planning which results in them either ending up somewhere in their own car, and seeing no option but to drive themselves, or with a group of people, all of whom are under the influence, resulting in them getting into a car with a driver who is drunk.
However, you can avoid these situations simply by designating a driver, booking a taxi or opting for any one of the ferrying services that have become available, such as Nite Owls or Good Fellas. Ideally, you should pre-book the service. For example, you may find that you are required to book at least 90 minutes before you need a lift. Find out whether your insurer or even your bank offers a similar service before you fork out for a taxi or resort to drunk driving.
Drive home services you can use include:
- Dial Direct: offers a Designated Driver Assist benefit to their car or household insurance policies. This gives you access to two ‘ferry’ trips per month where two professional drivers are dispatched to drive you and their car, to your chosen drop off point. The service is currently available in specific metropolitan areas: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and George, seven days a week, with last pick-ups done at 3am. The first two trips per month are free. For additional trips, the first 50km is covered at no extra charge. Additional kilometers are charged at R9/km.
- Standard Bank: personal current account holders qualify for a Take Me Home service, which is available within a 30km radius of city centers in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit and Polokwane. You will have to pay a fee of R10 per additional km for travel beyond 30km. While your first two call-outs are covered, you have to pay for any additional. Up to 4 additional passengers can be transported on condition that one of the passengers transported is the member and/or owner of the vehicle.
- Santam: offers Home Drive Assistance. The service is limited within a 50km of the CBD of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, George, Cape Town and Bloemfontein. You get a maximum of six driven trips per year.
This article was first published in City Press on 8 December 2013.