The Medical Research Council and the University of Natal are researching the causes of road rage to help prevent aggressive driving.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Natal is researching the causes of road rage to help prevent aggressive driving.

reported that MRC’s Crime, Violence & Injury Lead Programme (CVLP) and the university’s Interdisciplinary Accident Research Centre began the study last week and will complete it on April 25.

According to Anesh Sukhai, a researcher with the programme, they hope to shed more light on the magnitude and different levels of road rage and aggressive driving.

The study will be done among motorists in Durban based on their demographics and general driving and habitual high-risk behaviour.

About 1 000 drivers will be questioned in a random sample of 10 suburbs and 36 petrol stations in Durban.

“With the country’s death rate of 11 people per 100 million kilometres travelled being amongst the highest in the world, and the fact that in 2001, collisions accounted for more than one-quarter of all non-natural deaths in South Africa, it would be extremely worthwhile to research the contribution of road rage and aggressive driving to these staggering statistics,” he said.

The MRC said the US National Highway Department attributed one-third of crashes and about two-thirds of the resulting fatalities to behaviour associated with aggressive driving.

They also said that the risk of being a road rage victim peaked at the age of 18-34 years and that the risk was three times greater for males.

The incidence of road rage was found to be higher in Friday afternoon peak hours, under moderately congested traffic conditions, and particularly in urban areas. The study will be used as a pilot for similar studies in Cape Town and Johannesburg.