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Financial services 20 April 2020

SA driving data shows people are staying in lock down more than US and UK

South Africans have been generally more observant of lockdown rules than their peers in countries such as the US and UK, car-usage data from Standard Bank Insurance suggests.

On 26 March 2020, the day before South Africa’s national lockdown came into effect, the number of motor-vehicle trips in the country surged nearly 40% relative to the week ended 2 March as citizens rushed to the shops to stock up on basic goods, according to the data, which has been analysed by UK-based telematics company The Floow, a partner to Standard Bank Insurance.

By 29 March, two days after the imposition of the lockdown, daily trip counts in South Africa had decreased by more than 80% relative to the week ended 2 March. A trend demonstrating South African drivers’ adherence to the restricted movements imposed by the lockdown.

That compares to a roughly 50% decline in driving activity in the US linked to State mandated lockdowns and a 65% decline in driving activity in the UK.

Further, the number of trips per day by users has declined by more than the number of registered users, indicating that the number of trips per user has also reduced.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, The Floow has been monitoring how the spread of the virus, and the measures and lockdowns which governments have implemented, are impacting on mobility,” says Andy Goldby, Chief Actuary at The Floow. “We’ve seen some interesting figures, but the measures taken in South Africa in particular have had the biggest impact of all the countries that we are monitoring.”

“From the day the lockdown in South Africa was introduced, there was a very significant drop in the number of active drivers as well as journeys being recorded.”

The data also indicates that although there are less users on the road, driving scores – how well motorists drive – have edged slightly lower since the lockdown began.

Goldby explains, “this could be due to the types of drivers left on the road, or the lack of traffic allowing more aggressive driving.”

Owing to reduced usage, Standard Bank Insurance recently announced that clients will receive 25% of their car insurance premiums back. The cashback will be paid to customers – those who are in good standing with the bank – 14 days after the lockdown ends.

“During the current lockdown, as the data reflects, our clients are staying at home and most are not using their vehicles. Our partnership with The Floow allows us to use empirical data to develop solutions for our clients that provide them with financial relief in difficult times such as this,” says Dr Nolwandle Mbalo from Standard Bank Insurance.

This cashback initiative is part of Standard Bank’s broader efforts to ease the pressure on customers during this difficult period.