A total of 1 755 people lost their lives between December 1, 2015 and January 11 this year, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.
This was an increase of 14% from last season’s figures of 1 535, between December 1, 2014 and January 5, 2015.
There were 1 387 fatal crashes this season, an increase of 11% from last year’s 1 253.
The Western Cape recorded the highest increase (33%) in deaths, from 122 last season to 162, followed by North West which increased by 26% from 108 to 136 fatalities.
Other provinces also showed large increases of fatalities – Gauteng (10%), Eastern Cape (22%), Free State (20%), Mpumalanga (16%), Limpopo (12%) and the Northern Cape (19%).
The only province to show a decline in road fatalities was KwaZulu-Natal (-2%).
Around 17% of the fatalities were drivers between the ages of 25 and 34, while 8.8% were drivers aged between 20 and 24.
Peters said that 4.4% of the passengers that died were between the ages of 0 and 4, while 14.6% were aged between 25 and 29.
Small vehicles accounted for 47.9% of total crashes, while light delivery vehicles accounted for 22.7%. Minibuses and Combis accounted for 10.1% and trucks 4.8%.
Weekends the riskiest time to drive in South Africa
Most fatal crashes occurred on Fridays (18.8%), Saturdays (22.2%) and Sundays (16.9%).
Men made up 74.4% of those killed and women 25.2%. Around 0.4 % of the victims were burnt beyond recognition and their gender could not be identified.
The statistics revealed that 38.3% of those who died were passengers, followed by pedestrians at 34.9%. Drivers contributed to 23.9% of the fatalities and cyclists 2.8%.
Not wearing seatbelts and texting while driving were major concerns.
Peters said some people also tended to spend more money on sound systems for their vehicles than on their safety.
“Every car with a child under the age of 3 should have a seat for the child in the back.”
She was disappointed by some traffic officers who were caught on the wrong side of the law. Two officers from the North West and one from Gauteng were caught allegedly soliciting bribes.
Over the festive season, 1.7 million vehicles were pulled over and checked, more than 6 000 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence, and 808 were arrested for speeding. A total of 5 710 unroadworthy vehicles were taken off the roads.