Automatic crash detection expected to save many thousands of lives in South Africa

Automatic crash detection expected to save many thousands of lives in South Africa


Here’s a sobering thought: you have a 1 out of 98 chance of being in a car accident this year. If the odds are not in your favour, time is of the essence as delays in receiving the appropriate medical attention often turn out to be fatal. In fact, every 1 minute reduced in the accident response time can make a 6% difference in the number of lives that can be saved.

Despite the 11% decrease in the road accident death toll over the 2017/2018 festive season, the number is still shockingly high with 1 527 South African motorists losing their lives in car accidents, according to Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi. Evidently, automatic accident detection is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

“The European Union have recognised this and from March this year, every new car sold in the EU will legally have to be equipped with a 'black box' that detects an accident and automatically calls emergency services for help. Car manufacturers, including BMW and Volvo, already include the technology in their latest models,” says Casey Rousseau, Marketing Manager of 1st for Women Insurance who has recently launched an accident detection benefit called Guardian Angel on Call which can be activated in the insurance provider’s App.

Lawmakers in the EU insist that this life-saving technology will save 2 500 lives a year by speeding up emergency services response times. In South Africa, which is listed as one of the most dangerous countries in which to drive, Rousseau predicts that automatic accident detection could save a lot more lives.

“Guardian Angel on Call uses smart drive-detection technology to automatically switch on when the motorist starts driving. Not only can it detect accidents, but it can also gauge the accidents’ severity based on an intricate and unique algorithm. In a severe accident, the Guardian Angel on Call call centre will be automatically notified and alert medical responders immediately,” says Rousseau.

Unlike other crash-detection services in the insurance market, Guardian Angel on Call does not require a ‘black box’ or deep-installed device and instead, operates from the 1st for Women App. What’s more, Guardian Angel on Call can be shared with up to 5 of the regular drivers’ family or loved ones. Even your nominated family and household members who don’t own a vehicle can use the benefit, so you’ll know your child or elderly grandparent are looked after if they’re travelling with someone else. In addition to being a life-saving accident detector, the App also sends personal medical information, such as medical conditions and allergies, to enable Emergency Medical Services to offer more effective treatment

“While we know that women are safer drivers, we also know that they like to be prepared for every eventuality. Safety on the roads, not only for customers but for their loved ones too, is our priority and that is why we decided to launch Guardian Angel on Call,” says Rousseau.

Rousseau concludes with advice on what to do after a minor accident that does not require medical or emergency interventions:

  1. Stop your car, put on your hazards.
  2. Take photos of all damage to the vehicles and/or property.
  3. If possible, move the vehicles out of the road if they’re obstructing traffic.
  4. Exchange the following information: full names, ID numbers and contact details; vehicle registrations and descriptions; location and time of the accident; and the road and weather conditions.
  5. If your car isn’t driveable, call your insurer to get an approved tow.
  6. Report the accident to the police within 48 hours to get a case number. Do this before submitting an insurance claim.


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