Pretoria – Car Insurance South Africa has launched an interesting, interactive visualisation on the historical car crash data for South Africa for the period of 1950 till 2000. The data for the visualisation was obtained from Arrive Alive SA. The visualisation allows users to manipulate data along an X and Y axis as well as the radius to form the plotted points on the visualisation. This results in the user being able to create 56 unique scenarios of data.

The X-axis controls two sets of data, namely the year (from 1950 – 2000) and the total SA population which ranges from 11.7 in 1950 to 43.8 million in 2000. The Y-axis contains the vehicle population, the SA population (once again), fatal crashes, major crashes, minor crashes, damage only and the total crashes. The radius (or Z-axis) controls the human injury stats, including persons killed, serious injuries, slight injuries and total injuries. Users can hover over the plot points to get the exact figures and there are also social media sharing buttons and place for comments, making this visualisation even more interactive.

Whilst the data brings up some interesting points, the general trend is that the greater the population of people, and subsequently vehicles on the roads, the greater the deaths and injuries over the years. This forms quite a linear pattern which shows that although the cars and roads have improved (especially in terms of safety) the average person’s driving skills have not progressed. The improvements in safety of the average car are also offset by the amount of traffic as well as the slight increase of the speeds of the cars over the years.

This is a sobering realisation that no matter how safe our cars are along with the combined efforts of the traffic departments to provide safe roads and enforce slower driving speeds, more and more people are still dying each year. It’s no wonder that a vehicle insurance company found this data very interesting, it shows how important car and life insurance is in this day and age.