Matric Rage: A Rite of Passage or a Safety Hazard?

Here are a few tips for all the matrics out there

Matric Vacation, or affectionately referred to as Matric Rage, is considered to be a rite of passage for matriculants across the country, who celebrate the end of their school career.  It usually takes the form of a vacation to the coast with a group of friends, causing many a parent to lie awake at night worrying about their child.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, there are roughly 40 deaths per day and 14 000 deaths per annum on South African roads.  Human error is the largest contributor to all this carnage.  65% of fatal crashes are alcohol related while pedestrians walking drunk on the roads account for just under 40% of all road fatalities.  Speeding and being distracted by cell phones while using the road is sited to be one of the leading causes of accidents in addition to head on collisions that are largely caused by inconsiderate driving behaviour.

“Having your child take their first tentative steps towards independence, behind the wheel of a car and far away from home is often a very frightening experience for a parent,” says John Edmeston, CEO of Cartrack, a leading vehicle tracking and recovery, fleet management and telematics service provider.  “Not only is peer pressure and driving inexperience a serious concern, but crime such as hijacking is also never far from your mind.  Far from wanting a ‘big brother’ approach, being able to know that your child is safe, driving responsibly and can be located quickly if they need help or assistance, is a great comfort,” he adds.

Vehicle tracking together with telematics provide a very plausible solution to keeping track of a young driver.  Today, many tracking units utilise Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that will provide parents with a wealth of information at an affordable price.  “Besides being able to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle in real-time, telematics is also able to furnish an accurate recount of the vehicle’s movements and how and when it was driven,” Edmeston explains.

Another added benefit of utilising a car tracking unit that has telematics (tracking and diagnostics) capabilities is the unit’s accurate accident reconstruction abilities.  “Young and inexperienced drivers are often assumed to be in the wrong, even when a collision was not their fault.  The speed at which the vehicle was travelling, kinematics of movement, momentum, directionality, braking and cornering all paint a clear picture of what transpired leading up to and during a collision, that could very well exonerate a young driver,” says John.


While vehicle tracking provides the perfect tool it does however open a whole can of worms when it comes to the issue of trust.  “It is always a good idea to have an open and honest discussion with all family members.  Explain the risks that are involved and if need be, use the statistics to emphasize the danger of drunken driving, speeding and your child’s vehicle possibly being stolen or hijacked,” Edmeston says.

“While your child will most likely understand the reasoning behind the installation of a vehicle tracking unit, it will also set a clear parameter in which he or she can operate without it feeling like you are checking on them,” he adds.

A GPS tracking unit offers geo-fencing that sets a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographical area.  “If you discuss the locations that you expect your child to be at certain times, then you can set a geo-fence on their travelling location that will alert you if the vehicle was to move outside the perimeter.  We recently added accident assist to our bouquet of product offerings that further bolsters a parent’s peace of mind by acting as an intelligent safety precaution that will provide your child with access to medical and road side assistance in the event of an accident, no matter where they are in the country,” says Edmeston.

Online portal

The pure tracking component of the unit allows for the vehicle to be recovered in the event of it being stolen, but it also provides an online portal that will allow the family to log on from any location to check where the vehicle is.

A few tips for young drivers on Matric Rage:

  • Buckle up
  • Don’t use your phone while driving
  • Get enough sleep and take a break to stretch your legs
  • Pay attention to road signs and road markings
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Don’t walk around inebriated
  • Speed kills, so stick to the speed limit
  • Know the emergency numbers of the areas you are driving through and staying at
  • Keep your cool and avoid road rage
  • Have your car serviced and thoroughly checked before your trip

“We have all been young and we all know that parties and irresponsible behaviour is almost part and parcel of a young person’s rite of passage to the life of a responsible adult,” says Edmeston.  “There is however no greater risk and the fatalities amongst our youth on the roads are frightening.  While there is no excuse for bad and reckless behaviour, we would like to urge parents to have a serious discussion with their children before they embark on their matric vacation and to reassure them that they can call you if something goes wrong, no matter what the situation may be,” he concludes.

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For more information call Cartrack on 0861 22 78 72, visit www.cartrack.com or follow them on Facebook  Twitter  YouTube and LinkedIn