South Africa has the world's least strict road rules: survey

South Africans are punished far less than the citizens of other countries, according to a new survey.
South Africans are punished far less than the citizens of other countries, according to a new survey.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

In research from Compare the Market AU, six metrics from 17 countries, including blood alcohol and speed limits, mobile phone restrictions and seat belt requirements, were analysed to determine which country has the strictest road rules.

South Africa received the lowest score at 3.13 out of 10, based largely on speed limits for highways, residential and rural roads, which were higher than almost every other nation. There were also more listed exemptions for seat belt requirements than in other countries and while South Africa's blood alcohol limit isn’t the highest at 0.05g of alcohol per 100ml of blood, it is still higher than in many other countries.

South Africa has one of the world's highest road death tolls, with 12,436 deaths recorded in 2022. The Automobile Association (AA) said the country's roads had claimed 126,546 lives since 2013, calling it unacceptable and tragic.

At the other end of the scale, Norway was ranked the strictest country, with 7.09 out of 10. It has a blood alcohol limit of 0.02g, lower speed limits on urban streets and rural roads (30km/h for residential areas and 80km/h on country roads), and mandatory seat belt requirements.

The countries surveyed and their results.
The countries surveyed and their results.
Image: Supplied

France was second (5.94/10), largely thanks to the strictest mobile phone rules. Drivers are not even allowed to use these with a hands-free setting.

Tied in third place were Colombia and Denmark, which scored 5.84 out of 10. Colombia’s highway speed limit of 100km/h and blood alcohol limit of 0.02g helped offset that seat belts are required, but the law is not strictly enforced.

In Denmark, drivers can use a mobile phone hands-free, but only if using a built-in system. Having hands-free phone holders is not allowed. This saw the country rank in the top three for strict road rules.


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